After being in a psychiatric ward & a suicide attempt, Jennifer S. Chesler describes feeling like she's nothing. There is no nothingness, though, so ultimately one has nothing to say or feel.
Original post at this link, this is one of the pieces we put today in her resurrected book fragments. This is very intense, it's basically autobiographical & I love her & am enormously proud of her. Here the piece is:
Homeless shelter. I could have had fleas, but instead I have hives.
Everything is about me. There is no deviation from the pain of
existence. I remain consistent in my efforts to avoid writing about it. I
don't write. I write nothing. I remain closed to my pain. I no longer
have the same buffer against reality that I had when on drugs. I don't
know anything anymore. I know nothing. That is all I can say. Even
writing this is difficult, and it's not about anything. Listening to
music hurts. Everything is a reminder of having had a home. I have
nothing. I hate everyone who has abandoned me. I hate the world. A
better way. This is where I am. The name is a euphemism. I have a
typewriter in the corner, but I don't use it. I have no paper. I have no
home. I have no cat. I have nothing. These words get me nowhere. I am
nowhere. I have nothing. I can say this with all certainty though I know
nothing. Nothing is certain. My neck hurts from bad pillows. I can't
shower. I have hives. This is what I have. Hives. The kind induced by
stress. I am allergic to stress. I am allergic to my life. I have
nothing. My clothes are second-hand. My coat is a pimp coat. I went to
New Jersey to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins. I wore a pimp coat
there. It was embarrassing for me. I hate T. I hate my parents. I don't
have enough money for anything. I have nothing to do. I am unable to
work. I am unable to do anything. I can barely write, barely. "I I I I I."
Everything is about me. The music I listen to makes sense to me, but I
don't know why or how. Nothing is the only thing that makes sense to me.
The void of existence, this having nothing. I am at a loss for words. I
write out of necessity. There is no substance. There are women with
children and lovers getting out of prison. They need to hide. A better
way hides them. This is the undisclosed location. I met the taxi at a
McDonald's. I was in the rain. Were you partyin', she asks. What?
Partyin'? Partying? No. Were you workin'? No, I was sleeping. Someone
woke me up from a bad nightmare. It wasn't a dream. I struggled to wake
up. There was no other world to wake up to. I was amidst pure chaos. My
whole being is called into question. I don't know who I am anymore.
Maybe I never knew this. Maybe I was staving this off for years, this
fate of mine. I don't know. I don't know anything. I only know the pain
of nothingness, of having nothing, of being nothing, of writing nothing.
I am the pain of not knowing or being anything. None of my old friends
associate with me. I am loss. I am pain. I am nothing. I am the
remainder of an odd subtraction of being and nothingness. Sartre didn't
know anything either. I tried to kill myself twice. I thought I'd have
been dead. Have been. I thought I'd get past this part. I thought I
could get past the inevitable fate of the nightmare. I thought I could
escape. I thought you were dead to me. Nothing self, you came back to
me. She ain't shit, she says. She's nothing. I am nothing. I am not even
shit. I don't exist on a map. I come from nowhere. I go nowhere. I have
lost everything. I can't think of anything else. I am disgusted by
myself but can't shower. I smell like a homeless person because I am
homeless. There are mice running about here. No one has seen any in the
sleeping rooms yet, yet being the operative word. Yet. Not yet. There
are not mice in there yet, not in the room where you sleep. The children
seem to have gotten used to me though. Two of them will call me by name
now. Since I went to New Jersey. I am disoriented. I have a shelter
cough. I have hives. These are things I have. I do not claim them as my
own though because these claims mean inevitable loss. Maybe I should
claim them as my own then. I claim shelter cough and hives. These things
are mine. Do say rape as well. Rape. Don't say rape to T. Rape. The
opposite of rape. Angel. She wants a distraction. Chooses the stripper
over me. I want a distraction. I am the antithesis of possession. I am
the antithesis of Angel. I have nothing and am nothing. I am the year of
my birth. I am a newborn nothing. Sartre and Henry Miller were nothing.
Chaucer was nothing. Nothing that existed exists now. The void of
becoming. The apparent heir of nothingness. I am a newborn nothing. I
repeat myself to save words. I am thrifty in my solipsism. I am alone in
the mirror. I spell mirror in French. There is a remnant of my past. I
would take you out with me. I would take you to the mirror and make you
look at my puffy face next to yours. I would make us look at each other
in the mirror until our faces turned blue like corpses. I would make you
die with me, slowly and by part. First our faces would die together.
Our extremities next. Our trunks last, and in our trunks the hearts
finally. Not our hearts anymore, just the hearts. They come last. The
hearts come last. There is nothing in the brains so they come first.
We've been emptied of thought. We are death incarnate. We love ourselves
despite death. We love our suicide attempts. We love you and hate you.
We love nothing and hate nothing. We tried to asphyxiate ourselves with
plastic bags taped around our necks. The suffocation was extreme. We
stop ourselves from becoming. We are death. We are asphyxiated anyway,
this time by existence. Life is a trap for death. There is only a wish
for death. I try to stop myself from wishing for death, but I cannot
wish for anything else. Death, yes. I want to come with you, into you. A
lover for eternity, the rest of decomposition. I am everything and
nothing. I am love and hate. I am nothing. I hate these words. I love
these words. I hate and love everything. I hate Angel and T. I hate my
parents and sometimes my brother. I hate them more than life itself. I
hate life. I hate lists. I hate waiting for nothing. I am always waiting
for nothing. I wait for nothing to end. There is no peace and death. I
am forced alive by not killing myself well enough to die. I am a
failure. I have failed to die successfully. I didn't take all the pills
in one go. I should have taken more. I had them. What was I waiting for?
Two goes. No discernible death, only a semblance of it in life, the
mired existence that remains in the traumatic aftermath of failed
suicide attempts. I am nothing. I breathe even though I tried not to.
The asphyxiation was too much for me. Why do I hate my brother sometimes
when he has done nothing? Because he has done nothing but take me to
the hospital. I didn't want to go to the hospital. Once there I didn't
want to leave. I don't understand myself. Someone got shot by his
father. The inverse of patricide. It lives in me, the inverse of
self-creation. I want to destroy myself fiber by fiber. I want to die. I
want to stop existence and get off the bus. I am not waiting for a bus.
I am waiting to halt it. I am waiting for the bus to crash. I wait for
the waves to drown me. But there is not an ocean here in the middle of
the country. I wait for nothing. No waves drown me. I want to leave the
country. I have nothing. I am nothing. I wait for nothing. The ocean was
a symbol for life. I was drowned by existence. I was nothing then as I
am nothing now. I was always no more than nothing. I saw myself as
interminably verbose. I was articulate. Now I look forward to bad potato
salad, the kind that is sweetened. I eat Cheez-It crackers. I splurge
on empty calories because I am empty. I am empty and full of shit. I lie
to everyone about everything. I am running out of cigarettes. About
that I can tell you the truth. I am even good at typing. I am even good
at sitting in bed. I am even good. I am even good. One day we will laugh
about the parson's coat. I will not always look like a pimp. I will not
always wear my father's clothes. I will not cut off an ear or even two.
Even two. Even two. I know nothing. I am nothing. I am the inevitable
consequence of my actions. I tried to commit suicide. I understand your
wish for death. I am coughing my lungs out over it. I spurt up my
insides. I cough them onto your plate. Here are my lungs. Here is my
heart. I have no brain to give you. But take my heart and lungs, please.
Take them and run.