Photo of Doom!

There’s nothing quite like a photograph to make you see yourself through different eyes, and it never ceases to amaze me how vastly different the perception is from what you see in the mirror. The camera tells an unspeakable, unforgiving truth; one that you cannot argue with. Last night I faced my own mortality thanks to a certain photo taken that day.

I spent yesterday with two friends on a day trip to Southwold beach. It’s a place none of us had been before, and my bezzie and I do like to always try somewhere new. As the weather has been so gorgeous, we thought we’d capitalise on it and treat ourselves to a day out of the office. We had lunch on the pier and a Mr Whippy on the beach, paddled in the sea, soaked up the sun; the usual seaside itinerary. It was a lovely day, good fun in the car, singing, laughing, and much joviality; a very relaxing and joyful day; until I got home.

My good friend, of many years, sent me three photos from the day. Two of them were of me sitting on the beach, they were pleasant enough. I had given her strict instructions to only capture an image of me from the neck up (as I do with everyone.) The other one absolutely scared me to death. I was lying on my blanket, arms outstretched, relaxing, oblivious to all; and in this sleepy state, eyes closed……I look like I’m dead. Like a corpse. I don’t look like I’m relaxing happily; I genuinely look like I am dead. Perhaps it’s the unfortunate shadows cast across my face making my skin look grey, maybe it’s because there’s just so much of me that my face contorts when gravity takes hold. Either way, it made me sick. It made me feel like my spirit had just risen from my fleshy vessel and I was looking down at my dead self. That picture wouldn’t be out of place if it had been taken of me in my coffin. I have never felt such an intense sense of my own mortality until that point; and I have never wanted to stay alive more than in that moment.

As I sobbed, looking at my seemingly lifeless body, I suddenly thought about all those times, over bygone years, that I’ve spent in depressions, wishing my life away, wanting to die, and contemplating ending my days. In that image I had my wish and it petrified me. I no longer have any desire to end my days nor do I want my days to end; I certainly don’t want my days to end looking so oversized, or as a result of it. I’ve never had as big a kick up the arse as that single photo has given me. I’ve never seen anything so hideous in my life. If ever my motivation to change falters…..I just need to look at that picture.

It was quite a timely awakening as tonight, a friend and I are going to take part in a Bootcamp with one of my heroes, Jessie Pavelka. I love what that man does for people, the way he helps them transform their lives. In my fantasy, he takes me under his wing, his new project if you will; and keeps in touch until I am at my goal. In reality, just meeting him will give me the boost I need and I can take from it enough to reinforce my desire to lose this physical baggage whenever my resolve weakens; which it all too often does.

Apart from the weight issue, the picture wasn’t unlike Scrooge being visited by one of his ghosts; depicting what it would be like to see life after you’ve passed over. As distraught as it made me, it was also quite a gift. In that shockwave of emotions and thoughts that overwhelmed me, I was granted clairvoyance; a vision of my future that I want never to become a true eventuality. That person will not be my future. My path instantaneously altered it’s course as I opened the file on my mobile phone. When the time comes that I really do exit my body and peer down at myself it will be that of a thin, wrinkly, ancient old prune with an accomplished smile; happily at peace.

Godless, Loveless, Hopeless….?

There have always been far too many questions and not nearly enough answers in life. It’s like having a recruitment drive these days; there’s only one job, but there’s a thousand applicants. Just where do you start? Mind you, at least you can sift through the individuals and eventually hire; finding answers isn’t so easy.

I have always questioned existence, especially my own. It’s easier to justify other people’s existences (for the sake of my own sanity.) The most plausible reason is procreation; I have no desire to procreate, no maternal instincts at all. Some are here with their soulmates to walk through life with; I have no soulmate. Some were born to love; I have entirely forgotten how to and, even if it really exists, I question whether I am capable anymore. Some follow the word of religion and even base their life’s work on it; I am distinctly irreligious. So just where do you go? What do you do when you have absolutely no purpose or belief system? I realise I am merely concentrating on what I don’t have, as opposed to what I do, but what I have isn’t making me happy at my core; so.

There are, obviously, two options. Live, or die. We have the right and freedom to choose either. And how easy would the latter be; to have it all over and done with? You may say this is morbid, but this doesn’t come from a state of depression; it’s a logical, practical thought; death would be a blessed relief to my mind. And I know that life is precious and I know there is much enjoyment to be had; I do fill my life with……stuff, and just maybe there are better things to come. I have had love, I have friends, I have family….but this search for happiness keeps proving inconclusive. I just don’t understand what needs to be achieved to be perfectly happy, apart from being in love. Maybe there is no such thing as perfect happiness. Maybe it’s an illusion; a blind faith/hope. Death would end the quest. Death would bring relief (well, it would if you were around to enjoy it.) No more questions, no more striving, no more pain, no more bullshit. Now, to be brutally honest, that sounds like heaven to me.

So then there’s life; the option to just carry on living. The thing about having no purpose, no meaning, no hope, no belief, is that it’s two fold. It’s intensely depressing…..but also, it’s quite liberating. If there is no meaning, there’s almost no consequence. That’s not to say that we should ignore right from wrong; but at the same time, what does anything matter? Live, die, love, be happy, be sad, it’s all completely irrelevant. We will all die one day anyway, so no matter what you do, we’ll all end up the same; in a box or a furnace. And at that point, will how you lived your life have any relevance? Either way, why not go for it? Learn everything, do everything, go everywhere, fall in love, be heartbroken, break hearts, fuck up, make amends, be reckless, who cares? You’re only here once, thank goodness, so do whatever you want. Choose whatever you want.

Do, or do nothing. Be, or not to be. Pick one and don’t worry about what comes next. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. If true happiness comes, bonus. If not, oh well, at least you can say you lived as well as you could. It all depends on how much effort you want to put in. You could have it all, if you wanted; couldn’t you?

JG