“It's strange how pain marks our faces, and makes us look like family.”
-Stephen King, The Green Mile
Like a normal I used to be afraid of things that might kill me. Standing too close to the arriving subway, falling off great heights, fights on the LA city-bus, etc. As of last September, none of these intimidating events even startle me anymore. Since my blood seems to consist of silver- meaning I cannot die (multiple suicide attempts, flat-lining for 2 minutes, coma, heart-attack due to anaphylaxis, 3x pneumothorax…) it may seem natural that death doesn’t frighten me. Contrary to semi-popular belief, I am still human & I still lived with fear caused by life-threatening situations. Not anymore, as it seems. I mean, I’m still human (I think) but the heaviness that being afraid of dying creates seems to have been lifted.
When I’m walking home at night and I’m convinced the man behind me is a rapist/murderer I’m not afraid. He will do what he can, and so will I. Thus will be my fate. When I’m not paying attention & standing too close to the yellow-line in the subway station & the train whips by my head, I am not scared that I might be decapitated. My beautiful head will be gone and there’s not much any of us can do about that. When I cross the street and a car turns without looking out for pedestrians, am I shaken? No. I feel I am fearless when it comes to death. This isn’t any kind of dark, depressing will to end my life. Only to say that eventually it will end, as it does.
In my experience, pain has a way of shutting my brain off. I’m not speaking of dull, chronic pain. I’m talking about instant, tortuous agony. I haven’t figured out if this is due to Zen mastery, or if my brain is simply been trained to alter its activity during times of extreme paroxysm. The last tattoo I got didn’t hurt me at all. I watched the needles fueled with ink drill into my skin and I only watched, not feeling an ounce of discomfort.
I should tell you that this phenomenon within me has become clear since I underwent electroconvulsive therapy. My sister thinks it may have something to do with the dark places my brain has escaped to during that time. I think she may be onto something.
If you have lost someone you love & are afraid they may have suffered when they went, they may have. I am here to tell you that although one’s body may respond with the appropriate reflex it isn’t necessarily what one’s mind is experiencing.
You might be crying, kicking and screaming, and you may still feel nothing. I hope this finds you comforted & not dispirited.