"Life's a bitch, and then you die." At least, that's the gospel according to acclaimed rapper Nas. I can't remember the circumstances that placed that song on a music roster generally made up of Elton John and Nine Inch Nails. Whatever the case, I believe Nas has a point. We hope for an awful lot in this world, but the only thing we can anticipate without a shred of doubt is that we will all suffer and eventually burn out. There is tremendous disparity in the state of our individual human experiences, but everybody ends up as about the same rotting mass of flesh.
And yet, sometimes, such as during the mornings while I am awaiting the arrival of a rambunctious group of students at my job as a substitute teacher, I have moments of pure contentment during which I start to believe that the pain of life might be worth it.
It's so curiously bizarre to me--"being" that is. I didn't ask to be born. Nobody gave me a choice in the matter. Honestly, I doubt either one of my parents stopped humping long enough to consider the consequences of creating a human as they carelessly groped me into existence. Life was imposed upon me without the benefit of a transcendental signifier to offer a clear sense of purpose, value, or direction. Personally, I've always been partial to Job's insistence that he would have been better off if he had never been born. Such an argument, asserted in the face of God's crippling desertion, is warranted and it resonated with me from a young age.
I often think about the implications of Job's claim. Had I never been born, I wouldn't struggle with the burden of making ethical decisions in a morally ambiguous world. I certainly wouldn't routinely misunderstand how to appropriately relate to other humans during my social interactions or fail to predict when my actions might hurt the people I care about. More significantly, I would not be the type of person who's haunted by her past; someone consistently remembering the devastating traumas I watched inflicted upon others as well as those that I personally suffered. I wouldn't wake up violently from nightmares that leave me trembling, nor would I be able to rub my fingers over the delicate layers of my own flesh and feel the rough imprint of scars that each have a story more damaging than the physical mark left behind.
Without existence, I wouldn't experience unrelenting shame in remembering my past or derive embarrassment from my cultural identity. There would be no more living with...