“Think of yourself as an accident victim walking away from the crash: your old life has crashed and burned; your new life isn’t apparent yet. You may feel yourself to be temporarily without a vehicle. Just keep walking.” ~Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
God, does this ring true. Especially last night.
Alone, I got drunk on 50,000 Rupiah (it was that or dinner, so obviously I chose the wine). The problem is that when I get drunk, I get really, really hungry. So after my solo soirée, I stumbled to an ATM and pulled out cash so I could buy myself a proper dinner. I walked through a rainstorm and down a crooked path until I discovered a quaint little restaurant overlooking rice paddy fields.
A kind woman (her name was Nyoman) took my order and then left me to stare at the sunset. Black palm trees stood against purple-hued skies, and truly I had never seen anything so majestic. People took photos for their Instagram accounts and two Chinese girls leapt onto a deck to take more photos. That seemed like an unusual thing to do but was even more unusual when one of the girls—who wore a white dress—put on a white veil and continued to pose for the camera…here in Ubud, at sunset, overlooking rice paddies.
What the fuck were they doing?
Matter of fact, what the fuck was I doing?
It’s an absolute truth that when you spend enough time alone, you start to ask the big questions. What am I doing? What’s my purpose in life? What’s the purpose of any of this? How do I fit into the bigger picture (if there even IS a bigger picture)? This explains why most people rarely touch the edge of this dangerous and scarily existential space.
Truthfully, I’ve never known myself to be anything other than inquisitive. Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child; perhaps it’s because I have a wild imagination; perhaps it’s because I want to plug into something deeper, something more meaningful. Regardless, I catch myself staring into the void a lot.
That night, my dinner and beer patiently waited while I continued to stare into space. I was thinking that sometimes I just want to obliterate into a million different particles so I can finally be at one with something larger than this insignificant life. I don’t want to deal with the minutiae of everyday living. It’s a powerful intersection, this place, because suicidal thoughts encounter great spiritual ones: we realize, in the end, that we are both everything and nothing.
And coming closer to this truth—indeed even touching it—makes me want to shed my “mortal coil” (as Shakespeare would say) and join my rightful place among the stars. Why wouldn’t we want to dive into that huge, cosmic pool of energy?
I haven’t reached nirvana yet but I can tell you that I’ve learned to sit with these thoughts and cry—cry so much for the beauty, the pain, the love, the loneliness, and the unanswered questions that forever plague our species.
I’m slowly drinking and eating now while the Sun watches in jealousy. She wishes she could be me. She wants to be that girl who quenches her thirst with water, feels the warm air against her skin, smells fresh garlic thrown against a hot pan, tastes fresh food on her tongue, thinks her little thoughts, and writes down her little notes.
With reluctance, Sun relinquishes the sky. Darkness takes over.
I took a sip of my beer and gazed into the void. I stared Night squarely in the face and we made a single pact:
that tonight didn’t need to mean more than this; that tonight I was only human.