Inside My Head – Part 1

A few days ago, I wrote a piece about some of the aspects of my personality that make significant contributions to who I am as a person. I’ve decided to go a little deeper into each of the traits I mentioned (and a few I didn’t). But instead of lumping them all together, I’m going to try going one at a time. The following paragraphs are a mixture of what I originally wrote on the subject of fears and some new stuff.

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Fear of death. I’m not going to say I have no other fears, but if there was a test and I was asked what one thing I feared the most, the answer would be death. It’s not an uncommon fear, I think. People fear the unknown, and it doesn’t get much more unknown than death. I’ve never met anybody who’s truly comfortable discussing how bad their fear of death is, but for me, it was and still is extremely intense. I used to have mini panic attacks whenever I thought about it. It was mostly at night, but wasn’t exactly rare during the day either. I’d have to get up, regardless of the time, and distract myself with a book or TV or something until my heart rate went back to normal. It still happens from time to time, though I’ve definitely gotten a lot better over the last five years or so.

I don’t like thinking about death. It’s sort of ironic, actually, given the content of the majority of the fiction I write. People, I think, are fascinated by the things that frighten them. It’s why horror movies make money and monsters are such a huge part of many cultures. But I’ve noticed something very important in regards to death, through my own writing and society in general.

Death in and of itself doesn’t scare me. People die all the time, in peaceful and horrible ways. It’s essentially impossible to have any sort of exposure to a source of information and not get bombarded by the countless reports of people dying all over the world.

What scares me isn’t the broad concept of death. It’s the much more specific concept of my death. I don’t fear the unknown. I know there’s nothing waiting for me. When it comes down to it, what scares me is the idea of a world without me in it. One day, I’ll be gone, and regardless of how much I fight it, it’s inevitable. I’ll be dead, my body will decay, and I will be no more. I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife. I have no religious beliefs. One day, my body will simply shut down and everything I ever was will just be gone. That’s what scares me. That I can sit on my couch, watching a movie or playing a game, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that no matter how healthy I am and no matter what I do with my life, fifty or sixty years from now, I’ll be gone. And the only way it goes down any different is if I die earlier. I don’t fear aging. I don’t fear pain. Whether I pass away in my sleep, get lung cancer, or get hit by a car when I’m twenty-five doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ll die and there isn’t a fucking thing I can do to stop it.

I don’t think it’s hard to see the root cause of my biggest fear. Power. I don’t want to be powerless. Under the right circumstances, I have no problem allowing somebody else to have the power. Relationships, social interactions, group settings: I don’t have a problem stepping back and letting other people take charge. But that’s my choice. I don’t mind freely giving up power, but having it taken away from me is another story. I don’t like feeling powerless. And when it comes to death, it’s pretty much the definition of powerless. In the end, you lose, no matter what.

I’ve heard people talking about assisted suicide, or just suicide in general, as a way of taking back the power. The whole “If I have to go out, I’m going out on my own terms” thing. They think that swings the ball back into their court. They’re fucking idiots. Whether you die of old age, accident, disease, or your own design, you’re just as dead. You lose. You have no power.

That’s why I feel the way I do about suicide: I can never respect or feel anything but disgust towards anybody who kills themselves. It is weakness in its purest form, and no part of me can ever accept that. That’s why I never share my views on suicide. I know too many people who’ve considered it. While the logical part of my brain can see and even partially understand their reasoning, every other part of me loathes them for it. I’m not a hippie, or an optimist. I don’t look at the world and go “But how could you? Life is a gift. It’s so beautiful”. The world is a terrible, depressing pit of evil and bullshit. But in my view, suicide should not be a way to deal with that. It’s nothing but an admittance of personal failure and weakness on the grandest scale, and every fibre of my being refuses to accept it.

Interestingly enough, with the realization of the whole fear of being powerless came some insight into my writing. Anybody who’s read my work can already see where this is going. I write powerful characters because I can’t stand the thought of weakness. I don’t think it’s really wish fulfillment either. I don’t picture myself as these characters. I think it’s more a case of my aversion to weakness colouring everything I write. It’s not so much me wishing I could be in their shoes as me just being unwilling, whether consciously or subconsciously, to put them into mine.

Or maybe it is wish fulfillment. It doesn’t fucking matter. The point is still valid.

I guess the whole point of this delving into my fear of death revealed I don’t really fear death after all. I fear what it represents. Not an end, necessarily, but rather an inevitability. I don’t like the idea that I can struggle and fight all I want, but in the end, it’s not going to make a bit of difference.

From there, it’s fairly simple to look into other aspects of my life and see how that basic aversion to being powerless or weak has impacted them. I avoid almost all situations that could result in the power being taken out of my hands. I’m a control freak. I detest change, and by extension, the potential unknown that it brings. Obviously, awareness of those things makes it slightly easier to repress them, but still.

And that’s it. My greatest fear and how it has shaped me. Will I ever get over it? Probably not. Unless some kind of immortality pill shows up in the next fifty years, I’ll almost certainly have some fear of death. And the fear of being powerless will never go away.

I accept it. Nothing I can do about it anyways. And isn’t that just another kick in the fucking nuts?

Later.

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