sometimes i wish i didn’t exist

Sometimes I wish I didn’t exist. I think everyone has this thought at some point. For example, when something extremely embarrassing happens and all you want to do is become invisible so that no one can watch your face turn red. Or when you know you have to have a difficult conversation with a friend and you start to think that the conversation would not have to happen if you were never a person in the first place. 

On occasion, I’ll sit on my bed and look around the room at my clothes scattered around the floor. I’ll look at my books and birthday cards and pretend that none of it belongs to me. I pretend that I’m a visitor in my own room, in my own bed, in my own body. There is nothing for me to do or think because for five minutes, I don’t exist. 

At any given moment, I feel an obligation: an obligation to text that friend back or make that painting or donate to that cause or read that book. For a split second, I think, ‘No. What you’re doing now is okay. Taking your time is okay. There will be time for those things later.’ But that thought is overshadowed by my internal need to step it up. The thought is unaccompanied by action and riddled with guilt. Then, I simply wish to not exist. 

I’ve thought about existing as an apparition, as a ghost of myself. Not that I would die and then be a ghost, but that I would start and end in that omniscient form. I could check in on my friends even though they wouldn’t know I was doing it. If someone was watching a good movie, I could join in without imposition. I could look at the earth from the surface of the moon and watch it cover with grey. Mortality and morality would no longer be concepts to consider. I could be lonely, but as a ghost, I could just fade out and then it wouldn’t matter.

This intense desire for escapism isn’t helping anyone, so when it comes up so frequently I wonder what it means and how to counter it. How do you combat feelings of guilt when no amount of positive productivity or intentional rest will counteract the “not enough-ness?” How much affirmation does it take to enter a state of confident consciousness? Is it a science? Is it ignorance? Is it genuine contentment regardless of circumstance? 

Sometimes I wish I didn’t exist. I look at myself in the mirror and it’s as if I’m seeing myself for the first time. If I look into my own eyes long enough, the hazel becomes blurred and I can’t recognize the person I’ve developed into. I start to wish that I was someone else. I imagine a different life, different face, different interests, different self. Then I wish I was no one at all and I start to cry because I’m all I’ve got. 

So, I promise I’m fine. I’ll be at dinner tomorrow, but I might not seem like myself. Just give me a few days to think things over, to sit in the sun, to do some calculations. I’ll be okay by Thursday.

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