life is the universal default

I was laying on the floor in my mother’s apartment with bloodshot eyes when the answer to life hit me: just kill myself! It made perfect sense logically – life is terrible, so just stop doing it. (Oh the raging hormones of a depressed twenty-something!) I laid there with the inescapable Answer but it didn’t feel quite right. I knew something was askew. I was depressed and everything was terrible and the last nice thing I thought to myself was, “Good job, you took a shower today!” That had been three days prior.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. – Albert Camus

It seems like the answer to that question is in every breath taken, meal eaten.

Sometimes life fails us and we need to end it. End the experience.

Here’s the secret: You don’t kill your whole self. As my tears were drying on my face I realized that the answer is not to kill myself but to kill my Self. More accurately my selves. I don’t want to end the Experience, just sub experiences.

I still try to kill selves every day. I continually give birth to demon children selves that need to by burned at the stake. The Craver and the Should-er and Obligator are reincarnated every hour.

Some selves wither away when you look at them, others need you to stare at for years, others go away when you ignore them. The best anti-demon-self pill I know of is comprised of five steps.

  1. Say thank you about something. Even if it’s the fact that you’re allowing yourself to be alive to read this. Or that you got to eat today.
  2. Make your heart beat. A walk or run or pushups to exhaustion. Anything.
  3. Find someone to tell you it’s okay. Any books are good. Alan Watts has a great bit animated by Trey Parker and Matt Stone: 
  4. Eat something healthy. Even if you ate donuts for breakfast and lunch and snack and dinner. Putting an apple or lettuce in your mouth will immediately kill a shitty self.
  5. Make your mind do something. Write a list of 10 things that don’t suck, 10 skills you have, 10 ways you could make money. Draw something, compose something. Have a hard conversation. Minds get stale so fast and they hate us if we Snookify them all day.
Every day that I do those things, even a little bit, I know I’ve killed or re-killed an unwelcomed piece of Self.

What selves am I even talking about? I don’t know. There are always the big ones but most of them are so small and annoying and have been around so long that they are pretty close to invisible. Jung would make you draw circles to find them but you can never get at all the pests. There are plenty of life-suckers that thrive on attention so they just starve to death when they’re ignored. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming and they have such a hold on you that you can’t even lift the axe of an apple. Sometimes we got to just let the motherfucker burn.

Not everyone wants to burn themselves to a Nothing or sit for a 100 hours. We don’t need to aim at ego death. We certainly don’t need to aim at a Vogue-verified dream. Sometimes it’s a matter of removing something and creating a vacuum so the fun can come rushing in. The list above kills most of the major shitty selves over time. We can get a bit more specific though:

  1. Regret. Every day he reminds me, “Remember that time you fucked yourself in the market and let down all your clients?” This self, like all the other shitty selves, has everything to do with where you are Now and tries to convince you it’s all due to that past thing. Sometimes Regret even tries to make you feel bad about the thing you know you won’t do! That’s throwing you into the future so you can feel bad about a thing you didn’t do when you still have time to do it! The only time you regret something is when you aren’t currently doing something you want to be doing. Hating Now means hating Then. Kill Regret by starting a project or feeling grateful for some things or people you have already. Or watch another Alan Watts video.
  2. Anger. At other people and myself – my selves, damnit! – and the Universe in general. The Universe has some rules about it that are frustrating as all get-out. “Here – have a life.” But there are no instruction manuals! Where does this extra little round peg go!? (I’m speaking IKEA here – not genitalia.) Oh, I only get 100 years to be here? Oh.. maybe not even? There’s no mission you’re going to send me on? Okay, thanks! Like most things that piss off, once we look at them correctlythey stop feeding Anger. 
  3. Hate. I hate things for no reason all the time. I’ve also never felt better about hating something. I’ve never swayed someone I hated to my way of thinking. I’ve never accomplished anything while hating the whole process. Maybe we don’t need Hate as much as it tries to tell us.
  4. Fear. I’m scared all the time. I’m scared about what’s going on in your head. I’m scared about that logging truck that was definitely going to do me in Final Destination style. I’m scared this sentence is dumb. I’m scared that three people have called me a poet. I’m scared that China is going to take over everything and that a nuclear power plant is going to explode and that there is fluoride in the water and that my food is grown all Food Inc.-y. There is the blind fear of un-knowing (seeing headlines and feeling the “oh shit! apocalypse!” zeitgeist from movies). Then there is the much more intense fear of knowing (the mass-media fear mongering type). The only way to kill that fear is get a bigger knowing (finding real information sources). That usually comes by head-butting fears.
  5. All the others. 

It’s so easy to get confused and think you want to stop breathing. I promise you that’s never the case. It’s something else. It’s a hiding fear or situation or relationship (with people, things, you, ideas) or job or imagined obligation that needs to be killed. Never You – just pieces.
[Edit – wrote a poem that goes well here:

i killed me today

what a thrill! to end something quick

my murder was swift, no room for decay

so happens self-death is quite a trick


you don’t kill it all

that wouldn’t be fun

let’s start off small

with the piece that you shun


quick trick!

the shunner gets shot

he’s the real prick

worst of the lot


with the shunner gone

you’re free to have fun

go dance with a faun

wait, you still got the gun?


ready for more?

want to shoot deep?

to the trenches of yore?

the places gettable just by jeep?


shoot straight and shoot far

there are things that bite

just trying to give battle scars

don’t forget to bring a light


and don’t kill it all

don’t go extinct]