On Deb's recommendation, I saw Daniel Kitson perform on Saturday night. He is, (or was, since it's finished now), out here for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Deb possesses singularly OARSUM taste in stand up comedy, and Kitson was equal to that OARSUM. His timing is perfect, he's plays a beat on an older anecdote brilliantly, he never once went into a great stupefied rant about how insane Australia is ('cause seriously, we live here, we know all about the poisonous and dangerous animals, and kangaroos, yes, and fruit, yes, and please don't tell us we bask in the sun on the beach all day when you're standing on a stage in MELBOURNE do your damn research kthxbai), and he came kitted up with a deep uncomfortable insight into human nature.
He talked about his recent experience with death, with a focus on the effect witnessing such had on him. It gifted him with the realisation that life was completely and utterly pointless. It doesn't matter what you do or who you keep, it doesn't matter what meaning you choose to apply to things, or what you believe - none of it lasts. None of it has any points. You will die, and everyone around you will die, and that is inevitable. Nothing will stay, nothing will last, nothing will go with you when you die. You will die, and you will die alone.
Everything is futile.
Knowing this, understanding this, renders you incapable of taking any measure of joy from anything around you, whether it be a lovely surprise or something you have liked your entire life. It leaves you incapable of feeling. It leaves you depressed as all fuck.
I sat in the audience and said quietly to myself, "Yes. I know."
Because life is pointless.
Kitson did not stay in that pit of despair. Nothing happened in particular, he just started to feel a little better. He started encountering little things that meant nothing, but made the world a little brighter, if just for a moment. He said it was 'nourishment', that the mind seeks and finds these things for nourishment, to make it okay.
That's what I was doing all last year. Tripping over little pieces of nourishment, anything to keep me together just a few moments longer. When I couldn't find enough, I made my own.
Nothing in particular happened. I just started to feel a little better.
And I haven't seen any such nourishment around for months.
I wondered about that. I told myself maybe I was too busy, maybe it's because I had a normal 9-5 Monday to Friday routine that didn't take me strange places at strange times.
But I think, no, now I know it was because I didn't need any such nourishment.
Part of me has missed it. The tiny moments of magic, secret pockets in time, little wonders for which you can't help but imagine the whole world and all history that has gone before exists only to support this one incident that only you have born witness to - they are incredible gifts, they do make every thing worth it.
Part of me has acknowledged that not needing to seek out such constant reminders can only be a good thing. The year so far has been the best year in...I don't know. The best year in terms of awesome things happening, the best year in terms of shit things not happening, and the best year in terms of peace of mind.
If I'm not looking for wonder, then I must be taking it for granted.
Yet, if I'm actually in such a position of mental stability that I can afford to take it and the world around me for granted, then I give myself permission to do that, and do it hard.
I've had various conversations over the years, the gist of which is that it is better to be troubled and gain wisdom from that trouble than to live a small and unchallenged life. It is better to be extreme than content.
I don't know.
There is a lot to be said for peace of mind.
There is a lot to be said against the depths below.
This has particular relevance to me now, having just started back on true shift work. I was waiting for my train at the station, after 11 o'clock at night, it was cold, I'd spent eight hours in a room full of people I am not comfortable with, there were delays on the tracks, my hands hurt, I'm afraid my hands are breaking, knowing that I was going to have to do it again tomorrow, and then start nightshift, and see none of the people I love who make me laugh, and I've known this was coming, and I've been inserting distance anyway, and I have too much to do, and it all involves typing, and my hands, my hands, my hands, and all the platforms around me are empty, and I'm trapped here, and I have realised I do not want this life.
I do not want this life.
I got home having cried on the ride home for the first time in a long time, and made myself an enormous hot chocolate. My first thought was no, I can't do that, I won't be able to sleep and that will wreck my sleeping pattern. My second thought was yes, that's what we're trying to do now, destroy the sleeping pattern you've won for the first time in years. And I cried some more and made the hot chocolate, because I was cold, I was cold inside, but not that side of inside. There's no amount of warm milk that can make this better.
Kitson ended by saying (badly paraphrased): "The fact about life is that it is pointless, completely pointless, everything you do is futile, and it is doomed to end in death. The truth about life is that it's beautiful, and heartbreaking, and full of love and brilliance."
A fact is unchangeable. It is what it is. You can't argue with a fact.
Truth, is much more mutable.
Life is not always beautiful.
Today I saw something small, and hidden, and wonderful.