We often imagine the scene of us hitting rock bottom – at some point in our lives, at least. In this scene we are weeping uncontrollably with the occasional interruption of embarrassing whimpers while lying on some cold floor, maybe in pajamas we have not changed in days or maybe in nothing at all.
What we do not understand is that it doesn’t always occur in that way, and is not so “romantic”. For instance, you could be having your second rye toast strawberry jam sandwich, staring at a harmless sheet of paper with bullet points outlining office kitchen etiquette, while being bathed in sunlight coming from a very dusty window on your right. You will be trying to ‘keep it together’ for only one more hour at work. And it hits you. While taking the third bite of the cold sandwich you realize that, well, you’re miserable. No operatic outburst in the background, no Sylvia Plath manic moment, no inhaling on your cigarette fanatically, and no crashing of innocent glass cups to the wall. Quietly, you swallow the bite of the jam sandwich while the voice in your head finally rests in dull passivity after so much screaming and imploration. You clean that dish, place it in the dish holder and go back to your desk.
“The problem is not feeling miserable and even seeing the world as a giant big hole sucking you in alone, but the way we deal with it.”
Now, was that so hard?
You realize that at this very moment the only one who got it right was Nietzsche.
‘When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you’.
You see, my dear (and hopefully-not-yet-depressed) reader, the problem is not feeling miserable and even seeing the world as a giant big hole sucking you in alone, but the way we deal with it. Namely, the different serious and ridiculous ways we try to evade it. Instead, you should feel your misery, soak in it. Cry with appetite, and beat yourself up, regret it. Feel worthless and miniscule, fill your soul with envy to the brim, and explode in anger. Take it all in with bravery and after all of your feelings have been rid like an echo out of your body, have a cigarette and good sleep.
“Other days you will have light on your hands even if the abyss looks into you.”
Are you going to wake up in a different reality, lighter and warmer than last night? Probably not. Are you going to wake up with superpowers or a perfectly recovered heart? Nope. Are you going to laugh in full glory realizing that it was just a nightmare and that you’ll soon get out of bed and head to the kitchen to find your mom making you some breakfast with your dad next to her, talking about the weekend’s plans and household expenses? No.
“There is no evading misery or questions in your head that cause it, but this should never deter you from fighting to live and to loving life.”
Still, you know how when the light from outside seeps into the the open crack of the window and falls on the floor, or on your closet and you stretch your hand and the light patterns print on it? Remember that? That was your moment of tranquility, of joy. You had light on your hands.
And this is it. There is no evading misery or questions in your head that cause it, but this should never deter you from fighting to live and to loving life. Some days will weigh on your back so heavily you will almost hear your bones crack with every step you take. Other days you will be pleasantly surprised by a friend’s kind gesture, or finding that lost necklace in one of your old bags. Other days the sun will come up in a certain way and emit a certain warmth that will move you to tears, because it is so loving and familiar. Other days you will curl up in bed waiting until your body starts feeling warm again, smiling over a heavenly winter night well spent.
Other days you will have light on your hands even if the abyss looks into you.
The hell with the abyss.
You have light on your hands.
Sanabel is a master’s graduate of Middle East History from the University of Toronto and a genuine lover of visual arts, Arabic novels, Gothic poetry, photography, and discovering underground music scenes in Cairo. Have worked as a journalist and freelance writer in Toronto and Amman. ‘Find what you love and let it kill you’– C.Bukowksi.