Life is pain.
And I don’t mean that
in some philosophical
bullshit way…(or maybe I do?)
Life is pain, whether it
be physical, mental,
emotional, or existential.
The gentle yearning ache
of a heart perpetually unfulfilled…
The bittersweet bile of nostalgia
creeping up one’s throat…
The sharp bite of our
unreliably aging bones…
The mind-numbing weight
of each day survived intact…
The desperate call of a soul
that may or may not actually exist…
~ Maranda Russell
Lately I’ve hit the worst and longest lasting reading slump I can remember. For at least a couple months now I have struggled with picking up a book (any book) and reading it. I’ve tried a multitude of genres and subject matter, so I don’t think that is the issue. I’ve tried books of different lengths and even graphic novels and books with lots of pictures and still find myself throwing most of them to the side relatively quickly and just losing interest. I’m starting to worry this may be my new normal.
But WHO AM I if I no longer like to read? Reading and being a devoted reader has been such a huge part of my identity for so long that I feel lost without the passion for books I’ve always had. If you aren’t a reader, I know you will probably think this is a stupid post, but if you are like me and love to live in other worlds through print, you probably get my sense of despair and existential angst over this matter.
I recently came across the following quote by philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, and it really struck me as deeply true, at least for me. No matter what I choose to do or choose not to do in life, there is always a part of me that wonders if I made the right choice and won’t shut up with the “what ifs”:
“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.”
I feel so desperately lonely sometimes, and at those times it feels like I am not only experiencing my own personal loneliness, but the loneliness of humanity in general. During those times I mourn how disconnected we have all become, and I consider how alone each of us really is in our own thoughts and emotions. No matter how deeply we want to relate to one another, there is a shallowness that is unavoidable due to separation and individuality.
Maybe I am overthinking things or ruminating far too much, but sometimes I despair of existence and wish I could truly bridge the chasm between my own mind and heart and another’s.
Hiking with Hemingway
Written By: Maranda Russell
One foot in front of the other,
he reminds himself sternly,
pulling the edge of his hat down
to shield his sensitive brown eyes
from the glare of the city lights
winking in the distance.
Every glimpse of human society,
of the burning embers
from love lost and found
and lust thrown to the ground,
only serve to make a lesser man
turn his heart aside.