sleep is no escape. the night eludes my truce for peaceful coexistence. lately i’ve been stirring into consciousness unwillingly, awake in odd hours and cannot return to the place where i can forget, where no one can touch me. sometimes i just surrender and lie awake in bed unmoving, shrouded in darkness, because some unforeseen force is letting itself known and i am left to deal with its ominous presence, because i know it’s something i cannot ignore. and for the life of me, it creeps up like a monster that’s been hiding under my bed biding its time.
it always happens like this: first there’s nothing, only emptiness and silence, and then it’s there, right in front of me – at the same time, all around me. this thing is omniscient and all-powerful – something primitive – perhaps something older than the dawn of mankind and even the Earth itself. i feel it is something that defies law and gravity, something that goes against facts and science.
its essence extends its intangible hand and reaches, through me. i in turn desperately and physically clutch at my chest, not knowing how to respond, suddenly overwhelmed. because out of nowhere, i get this immense feeling of falling and rising at the same time. there is this rapid combination of all my senses igniting all at once – an explosion in the cosmos. and there’s this sudden dawning – this absurd realization – that i am an actual living and breathing thing, that i am part of some grand master plan in this vast universe, no matter how miniscule. that i am an atom in some vital DNA – a coalesced structure that’s part of fate or destiny. it’s as if the core of my human existence just caught up to me and, for the first time i am aware of its magnitude and its importance like a newborn baby opening its eyes and realizing that there’s a whole world out there that is not just made up of dark and empty bleakness.
this substantial realization shakes me to the core and robs me of breath, my lungs start heaving, releasing choked sobs i cannot control. my pulse intensifies, and my heart beats rapidly. it’s not only overwhelming, it’s all-consuming. the simple awareness of my “self” – as a being – and this life i was meant to lead that is supposed to draw purpose dawns on me and i can’t help but suddenly feel EVERYTHING. as if my nerve endings are fired by a million electric jolts. as if i’m a sleeping machine aggressively recharging and waiting to be turned on. this devouring energy unsteadily pulsates in my chest and in the heart of my palms, radiating and vibrating like a light dimming and brimming with life.
as powerful as it feels, it’s in these moments where i feel helpless the most. my life flashes before my eyes – childhood, puberty, young adolescence – they all play like a glitched sadistic film reel, of what i have done and what i have failed to do. the fear of the future and the unknown, in addition to the present, all add up to the recollections of my past and the pressure and weight bares down on me that ultimately, i am a big disappointment revealing the biggest cracks in what i have become.
i am human.
there’s a small dismal part of me that has always welcomed the void, allowing its tragic form to wrap its arms around me in daily life, and the change – the feeling of all this disorients me. i feel like a lone puzzle piece that feels the whispers and ghosts of all the other puzzle pieces that i still cannot see. i am alone, bared open and in my most vulnerable state. a canvas painted on by foreign hands in the most boldness and darkest of strokes with no space left untouched. it scares me, whenever this happens – this onslaught of feeling everything so deep it hurts. because it is in these moments when i am the most lost, and when i ask myself the most fundamental question,
“Who am i?”