“When we fall asleep, where do we go?”: the art-of-living without fear of dying

I am 23, going on 24. I haven’t done or lived much to utter the following words: “I do not fear death.” I have come to realize that death is not as tragic as it sounds; sure, it’s tragic to friends, family and even acquaintances who love and care for me, but I genuinely do not fear my passing from this life to the next — or alternatively to oblivion. 


I have always been ‘other-ed’ by people who both know me well, or at least know of me. The root cause has always been my ethnic background, nationality, sexual orientation, religious belief and/or political affiliation(s). Indeed, I am a small minority in all of these identities and beliefs — separately. I have never truly been accepted fully by either group because there is always something — deemed atrocious — to disagree on. Who I am and what I identify with has been a point of contention wherever I went and whomever I talked to — or never talked to. Growing up, it used to upset me immensely. I vividly remember being told to kill myself for my sexual orientation; I remember recieving hateful messages on social media for my religious beliefs; I remember my — Lebanese — school ‘peers’ not wanting to play with me for being Armenian and then being told to go back to where I came from — which is where exactly?; I remember being discriminated against in Armenia for being from the diaspora and hence not ‘Armenian enough’; My life has been threatened for my (firm) political beliefs and affiliation(s) so many times and for various reasons that I have lost count. My heart used to beat fast and my body used to shake from the top of my head to the toes on my feet, every single time. Instances like these always managed to get to me; I would be upset… and afraid. 


I am disgusted by how ungrateful I am to my life’s many blessings. I antagonize my privilege. I try so hard to love myself and recognize my many strengths and even my weaknesses; but I see nothing. I feel either void or full of emotion. Sometimes I am so in love with life that I am overjoyed for being alive, yet I often also loath my existence. Why does this happen to me? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I love myself? So many why-s! — It irritates me. Why can’t I just be normal? — what is being normal though? “Being normal is boring,” I was once told — No it’s not. Actually, what if I want to be boring! Just live a mundane life from birth till death, without questioning, thinking and feeling. I am in an absolute existential crisis since birth. What is my purpose in life again? 


Currently surrounded by family and friends who love me, care for me and cherish me, I still feel alone deep down. I never really had any good friends, not even a best friend, not until after I became an adult. Once my English teacher in the 6th grade asked the class and me who I’m friends with. She insisted that my friend(s) raise their hands, as she was mad at me for something. Spoiler alert: no one raised their hand; not even those with whom I spent my recess/school break with. Since then I knew that I was different and undesirable. I remember being a kid and praying to the ‘one true’ God-almighty for a best friend. He showed up 18 years later; better late than never, I guess. 


I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in highschool when I was 15 going on 16. I started taking pills around that age. I was then told that I am bipolar and was prescribed different pills. I still take them to this day… well, I consciously skip taking them sometimes. I do not want to be on medication. I hate not being in control of my life and be in need of man-made chemicals to stabilize both my mood and my very being. I am not sure if they are helping. What if I’ll feel better without them? — I’m too afraid to stop taking them. 


The woman who raised me is no longer with me. She left. I feel abandoned. Superstition and conspiracies stem from those around me as to why she died so young at 55. I have lost 7 family members in less than a handful years! I only have the memories which I can never re-live and the wish to go back in time. Maybe in some supernatural way, I could create new memories — or, better yet, realities. I do not fear dying because I do not feel like I have a reason to live on this planet; I am willing to take my chances and strive for a better form of existence with my parted loved ones. What goals or ambitions do I have? — none. I make them up and do not commit to them because they mean nothing to me. In fact, I live for others. I feel compelled to please the people around me, especially my father. He has given me the space to be myself. He respects and supports me. Yet, I consider it unfortunate that I have the impression that I live for him, rather than for myself. I don’t enjoy life — it just strikes me as fake.  


I am obsessed with Billie Eilish (the title to one of her albums quoted in the title). She makes me experience a weird form of deep pain… but I love it. Supressed feelings come out when I listen to her music; it has me realize that dying is okay. I have cited identity, confusion, solitude, illness and desperation as main factors in my simple conclusion: it’s okay to be at peace with dying. I, ironically, consider this phenomenon an art-of-living. 

One comment

  1. Hi Anthony! This is Gretchen. You are very welcome here in the Philippines anytime you want to visit, after the pandemic of course. Please do, we have a lot of nice places here. Our beaches are good for soul searching. 😊

    Anyways, i didn’t know you were diagnosed with depression and is taking pills. I will be praying for your healing. 🙏

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