Sunday, March 20, 2011


When I think of death, many things come to mind but what is strongest in my mind today is the death of Jonathan Larsen.  If you don't know who he is, he wrote the musical "Rent" and he died pretty young.  He was in his early thirties.  There is an irony to this.  Larsen died suddenly and without warning.  His great masterpiece of a musical was going on that night as a dress rehearsal.  The night of his death, his show was an instant hit.  It was just a small workshop in a small theater.  After a while, this show went on Broadway and then toured all around the world, gaining a strong following and numerous Tony awards.  That is not the irony.  The irony is that the play was a modern version of "La Vi Bohem."  It took place in the eighties when the Grenwich Village in New York was a haven for poor struggling artists dying of AIDS.  The musical was about people living their lives to the fullest even though they knew they were going to die.  The irony is that the play was inspired by Larsen's best friend who had HIV.  The irony is that his friend is still alive to this very day but Jonathen Larsen isn't. 

Larsen was afraid for his friend who supposedly, was going to die very soon.  But when I watched the documentary, watching his friend lament about the irony of this was quite compelling.  I think it has been about twenty years or more and this guy is still alive.  So if you think you know when you are going to die, think again.

The other day, I was watching a House episode about a guy who sued the cancer doctor for the silliest reason.  He was told he was going to die.  So he spent the next few months in happiness, doing all of the things he had never done.  Then he found out he wasn't going to die and he got depressed again.  So he was suing the doctor for "taking away his happiness".

The truth of the matter is, I know I'm going to die.  I know you're going to die.  I don't know when.  It could be today, it could be tomorrow.  It could be ninety years from now but I'm going to die.  That is a fact of nature we cannot overcome.  The best we can do is live every day to the fullest 'cause it can happen anytime.  So the question is not, if you found out you were going to die soon, what would you do?  The question is, what you are going to do period.  This is why I don't hesitate to tell my son and my husband that I love them and why I try to uplift the people in my life whenever I have a chance and why I try to give my all to every job I do when I'm doing it and why I take a moment to notice the clouds and the rain and the ocean and the flowers while they are there because nothing is permanent.  I love my sorrow as much as I love joy, my pain, my anger, my lust, my greed, my compassion etc... I enjoy every moment even if that moment is suffering.  Its life and you should enjoy it while it's here.  And if there is something after death, then life is preparing us for it so we should get as much out of it as we can. 

Okay, here's another story I heard from someone who now works in the claims department of a landscaping company.  There was a terrible accident and he found out that the guy who crashed the company vehicle through a fence and off a cliff just woke up and told someone he was committing suicide.  Apparently, he took some pills to make him fall asleep at the wheel, and then ran his truck off a cliff, through a road block, and into the ground below.  The truck was smashed into a small accordion.  The man was unharmed.  Now that he failed in his goal to die, he'll probably have to commit himself or owe the company a lot of money and he'll probably lose his job and how is he going to explain this to his wife?  This reason is why I don’t see death as a way out.  We can’t prolong it anymore than we can make it come faster.  We must take our focus away from things that we have no control over and indulge in the things that we do.

I can't tell you what comes after death.  It isn't something I'm focused on 'cause I'm too busy living.  Wondering about that is like wondering when you're going to die and nature has a way of hitting people over the head when they think they can control these things.  I can say this, we are all one.  This universe functions on energy that never dies.  It only changes form.  So if you die, you are not destroyed.  That would go against the laws of nature.  Perhaps you'll be recycled.  I'm not saying you'll be reincarnated.  I'm just saying that you cannot be completely destroyed according to the laws of energy.  And when our loved ones die, do they really disappear?  Really?  I don't think that is possible.  We are the essence of the universe. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Greatest Fear

Growing up with an older brother meant having to endure a good scare. My brother loved to terrorize me, until one day, I decided not to be frightened anymore. He tried jumping out of closets and throwing his limp body on me as if he were a dead corpse and it didn’t faze me at all. There were other things, but I guess I just became desensitized to everything. I love my brothers. We have a great relationship but it is funny how, as children, siblings use each other to experiment on.

Perhaps it was then that I realized that what we fear has power over us. So I guess my point is that I am pretty hard to scare. I’m not afraid of all the things that people tell me freak them out. I’m not freaked out by the idea of death or killer ninjas or werewolves or monsters lurking under my bed. For a while I didn’t think anything could scare me. I was wrong. Recently, I have run into some literature that has managed to tap into my greatest fear, a fear that I didn’t know existed until now.

A while ago, I was reading an anthology about various and off beat versions of the vampire. This was a great read but I returned it to the library a few months ago and can’t recall the name of the book. If anyone knows the title, let me know because I’d like to give it credit. The book had stories from some of the greatest horror writers that ever lived such as Clive Barker and Brian Lumley. The vampires in the book were not your typical type. They fed off of things like your looks, your youth, your identity etc. Though the stories gave me the chills, I had no problem falling asleep afterwards. However, there was this one story that was written in a dreamlike way, describing a man who is at a computer convention in New Orleans. He’s at a bar and meets a beautiful woman. The story recounts his night, all of a sudden, the man wakes up and he’s in a different time. It takes a while for him to figure this out but he’s actually in the past, the day before and he needs to catch up to the future. That might not be right as it’s been a while since I read the story. It could be the other way around.  He stalks this woman out and right before he can get to her, he finds himself in the bar again, continuing the night with this lady that he’s falling for, and then he’s back at the other time. It goes back and forth and he’s chasing this woman and is trying to catch up to her.

I hadn’t finished the story yet and found that I couldn’t sleep. Something bothered me about this idea of time. Is it that I can’t control time? Is that what bothered me? Does it have to do with the fact that I have dreamed the future a few times and have seen it come true? I honestly don’t know. In my youth, I used to memorize or write down my dreams, which made it easy for me to notice when they actually come true in what appear to be dejavus, yet if I go back and read my dream journal, I find that it was a recount of a dream I had years before. This was always a freak thing with me that I never gave much thought. The reason for this is because I don’t ever know if my dreams will come true or not and the future is so foreign to me that dreams of the future show no significance so it’s not like I have super psychic powers or a gift. It’s just something about me that gives me no advantage over anyone, just a curiosity really.

Over the past ten years, I periodically suffer from sleep paralysis. I wake up unable to move due to the fact that my body has not completely woken up and the hormone that keeps me in bed so I don’t sleep walk is still in my system, making me unable to move. I try to wake up, but the more I try the worse the paralysis gets. I find that if I go back to sleep, I wake up just fine but I have experimented with this a few times and have managed to astral project and I learned that there is a very scary and hallucinatory fine line between dreams and reality. This was once a very scary experience that has turned into a curiosity, something I have gotten used to. Still, there is still something frightening about it when I stop and think about it. I am, by all accounts, extremely healthy yet I’ve had this sleeping disorder on and off for the past ten years. I still remember the first time it happened. Why didn’t I get it before and why hasn’t it completely gone away?

I started writing this blog a few days ago and now I’m back after watching most of the movie, “Inception.” Before watching the movie, I told my husband that it would frighten me. I just knew because it had to do with dreams and reality. I saw most of the movie, and then fell asleep. I woke up to see the very very end. Suddenly, I felt paralyzed in fear. My heart was beating fast and my husband couldn’t get an answer out of me. I tell the man everything but I suddenly felt distrustful of him. All I could say was, “I told you this movie would frighten me.”

So I will confess right now, what truly frightened me about this movie. It suddenly occurred to me that every memory I have could be planted. Perhaps I was once a part of a secret undercover operation and all evidence of that that has been erased and replaced with the memories of the amazing life I have led. Then an even more frightening thought occurred to me. What if this isn’t real? What if I am some crazy lunatic getting high off of this idea that I live in the perfect world with the perfect husband and this beautiful boy? What if I pinch myself one day, wake up, and realize that I’m back in my very imperfect past, a past I had been trying to break away from for years. This was a very scary thought at the time and the movie really brought that home for me. Now, I’m fine. Now, I laugh at the thought. I have no choice but to trust myself and all the government agents around me who call themselves my friends and family, but there is this very disturbing idea that it all could be fake. I could be living in the matrix and I chose this life of illusion. I could be jumping from one parallel universe to another and one day, I might find myself trapped in some other time or dimension.

What about you? What is your greatest fear?