I sometimes have weird revelations.
I’m not thinking of anything in particular and suddenly, a fully formed concept pops into my head. As if I’d been working on it, trying to figure it out for days. Then at long last, the insight is simply there. Crystal clear.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had these unsettling mini-thoughts; thoughts that flash into my mind almost as fast as they disappear. Thoughts about my life. About where I’ve been and where I am now. And where I’ll never be. Because I’m stuck in Zombieland.
I’ve had goals, dreams, aspirations…whatever you want to call them. Things that I’ve been working for and towards my whole life. They’ve kept me walking. Kept me putting one foot in front of the other. Kept me looking ahead more than I looked behind.
Now, I can’t avoid facing what I’ve denied for decades. Now, I am compelled to look behind. Now, it’s hard to find a reason to keep walking forward.
I’m not sure when things changed. But I had one of those weird, fully formed revelations. And I realized with certainty, I’ve come to the end of the road. I’ve passed the point where dreams die and I’ve reached that place where I can barely recall a time when I had dreams. I suddenly see I’ve been foolish to believe I could actually realize any of the dreams I’ve been striving for so arduously. They’re not going to happen. They will always be nothing more than a dream.
I should have seen the truth much sooner. I have deceived myself and now, with nothing to reach for, my soul withers and rots.
I’ve arrived in Zombieland. It’s where I live now. Always have. But I used to believe I was somewhere else. I used to have hope of escaping.
No more. This is where I will die.
Little by little, I have had to let go of everything that was sacred to me. I’ve had to let go of all that I had hoped would resuscitate and restore me.
I used to love to sing. In the car. In the shower. Around the house…at every opportunity. I had a good voice. Not extraordinary, but I was a great backup singer. And if the song was right and in the right key, I could sound like Karen Carpenter.
Along came ED. The eating disorder that I thought was as harmless as a dormant volcano. Something set it off again and now, I’ve all but lost my voice. Purging keeps my speaking voice raspy. My singing voice has been silenced completely. I’ve lost one of the few things that brought me happiness.
I’ve struggled to accept my body. I’ve struggled to accept who I am. But there was one thing about me that I liked. One thing that was special. I had gorgeous hair. It was long, thick, shiny, soft and beautiful.
I don’t know if the aging process changed it or if the eating disorder contributed or if it was a combination of the two. But now, my hair barely grows. It has fallen out at an alarming rate for no detectable reason. And it’s thin, brittle, dull and frizzy. I’ve lost the one thing that allowed me to feel a little bit good about myself.
I had an extraordinary memory. Now, I can’t remember what I was thinking or what I was doing from one second to the next. If I don’t write things down immediately, they’re gone. I make lists for the grocery store, to-do lists at work, set reminders on my Outlook calendar, all in an attempt to remember things I once would have never forgotten. Thoughts are gone almost as quickly as they come to me. If not captured in ink, they sink back into the murky waters of my brain.
One by one, the few things that gave me a small sense of worthiness have all been stripped away. The list of the pieces of myself I’ve left behind and lost is long. The list of what remains is nothing more than a blank page.
There were other things, more practical things, that have fallen away. I wanted to have enough money so I would never have to worry about making ends meet. I wanted to have enough to retire early so I could finally leave the struggle behind. The struggle of pleasing bosses who only want more and who are never satisfied with what I accomplish. I wanted to be able to do some fun things. Just for me. Ride in a hot air balloon at least once in my life. Lay on the beach for as long as I want and splash in the waves. Let time pass me by without making demands. Without requiring me to do something that makes me valuable to someone. Without having to fight for the right to breath air or to constantly apologize for my lacks and defects. For wanting to be the lucky one for a change.
I dreamed of having a great job. Before I retired. A job where I was recognized as having value and where I was allowed to be part of the team. I wanted so badly to make enough money to chase the fear away. To belong. To feel good about myself.
I hoped for love. Someone to love. Someone to love me. And this, this is where I wanted pure extravagance. Excessive love. Deep and vital connectedness. Unending acceptance. Tender. Committed. Sustaining love. Love that would make life worth all the pain and wounds and destruction that came before it.
I wanted to be pretty, but there’s not much that can be done. It is what it is. And age steals even what little there was.
I wanted to find emotional healing. To be free of mental illnesses. Sadly, it also is what it is. Effort doesn’t count and prayers haven’t moved this mountain.
The revelation that hit me was interesting because I was unexpectedly able to clearly see I am no longer working toward attaining or reaching any of the things that have previously motivated me. They’re gone. All of them. The hopes. The dreams. The desires. Even the desire for restoration of what has been lost. Gone.
Now, I exist. I get up, do what I have to do, go to bed, try to sleep, then get up and do it again. And again. And again. And the emptiness of it doesn’t even matter.
I’ve given up.
I’m in Zombieland.
No highs. No major lows. Nothing to look forward to. Nothing to cherish from the past. I’m numb and have run out of things to live for. I’m existing in the land of the walking dead. Nothing moves me. Nothing can revive me. I watch life go by while remaining untouched and empty.
I do what Zombies do. Exist; nothing more. I no longer care that I’m a Zombie. I’ve stopped fighting it. Stopped trying to get from where I am to somewhere else. Stopped trying to become someone else. I no longer hope for much of anything. I’m simply grateful to survive the day without trauma.
Tomorrow will come and go. My life in Zombieland will be tomorrow as it is today. A vacuum. A place where nothingness thrives.
It is the space in which I live and it is the place where I will die. No reason to fight it because I’ve already lost the battle. Nothing to hope for because what is will always be. And I will always be a Zombie.
It’s done. I’ll be a Zombie until my physical body finally joins my heart and soul in death.
All I have left to leave behind is Zombie dust.