Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Trigger Warning: Nihilism
Can you remember the last time you laughed? And I mean in a heartwarming, causing-a-stomachache, hysterical kind of way; not the sardonic grin at a sarcastic comment made at the expense of a loved one.
I do, it was back in 2014, when Pharrell Williams' Happy was on the radio and the world was a much simpler place. I was in the middle of a biology class when I crossed eyes with my best friend, and we burst out giggling. I can't recall what was so funny (no, we weren't studying about the reproductive system), neither do I remember the last time I connected with her, but that flashback stands out like a beacon, in an otherwise sea of bittersweet memories. If laughing really is the best therapy there is, I wouldn't mind a bi-weekly session with a shrink.
Can you remember the last time you let a friend walk away from your life? Somebody you grew up with, perhaps? Somebody you thought you'd plan your wedding with. Somebody you relied on to have your first drunken escapade with.
I do, and I still haven't come back from it. It was gradual, like waves eroding away sea rocks little by little. It's the usual story - it started with getting busy because of more pressing commitments; it escalated due to lack of prioritization; it ended over a WhatsApp conversation. They kept complaining about the negligent effort I put into our years-old relationship, and I kept holding grudges against them for not being able to appreciate what we shared.
Can you remember the last time you broke down? Felt a pain so heavy on your chest, you thought you'd die gasping for air. Like somebody had opened a trapdoor beneath your feet and you kept falling, only hoping for solid ground, just so you'd know you could fall no further.
I do, and it still haunts me on quiet nights. It has happened more times than I'd like to admit, and every time has been more painful than the last. Crushing grief after the loss of a loved one, devastating misery after a heartbreak, regretful agony at the realisation that a dream will never be achieved; I've had my days. I have given up before trying, I have deemed necessary things unworthy, I have built up impenetrable walls to protect my fragile self and called it ego. I have been shattered and I have been fixed, only to implode again.
As grateful as I am for this wonderfully privileged existence that the Universe has bestowed upon me, I have felt an equal sense of emptiness that we all feel sooner or later; a void that is screaming to be filled, but the chasm only deepens as we progress in this little game we call Life.
It's strange, this modern loneliness. We're constantly surrounded by people, we're more connected than never; and yet, at the end of the day when all is said and done, we have to face our demons alone. We grapple with such intense emotions everyday, and yet, a strange hollow takes over as the night closes upon us, leaving only a boulder for a heart, and a vacuum for the soul.
It's only in that darkness that you slowly realise, it's not about money, or fame, or even happiness. Your entire mortality has been about finding that something that helps us make sense of that blankness within you.
It's only in the darkness that it hits you, if you were ever to write about how you actually feel, no inhibitions, the paper would be empty - and that that would describe you better than all the words in the world.