I died again last night - it was uncomfortable and full of static. I’m not really sure how old I am anymore, but I think I’m in my early twenties.
Sometimes it’s quiet, sometimes it isn’t. The morning after it happens, I just, like - I wake up, alive and unharmed. Like some twisted Groundhog’s Day. The difference is that I’ll be an entirely different person.
Sometimes I’m older, sometimes I’m younger. I was originally born a girl, I think. But after so many bodies, I’m not really sure anymore. I think rather asexually these days.
The first time it happened I had a hard time dealing with the change. I had never been in a car accident before.
I saw the other car coming, but there was so much snow, I didn’t know what to do. I was only 16, and it shouldn’t have happened. I mean, I was a late bloomer - I had just figured out all that period crap, had my first boyfriend, I was so young.
And then the other car hit. It happened quickly, but it hurt so much. It was an older car. Mine was, that is. My parents wanted my first car to be a beater. The steering wheel did something. My breasts were completely crushed into my ribcage. I felt my bowls let go. I almost bled out, but both lungs had collapsed.
I sat there in total shock and total pain. At first I was angry. Then I tried to pray but the thoughts were just so random. I’m not sure how long this all went about, but by the end I just wanted it to go black and it did. The pain was everywhere. Choking on your own blood includes a claustrophobic response. I didn’t realize until many deaths later what had happened. Now I’m familiar with the sensation, but that first time… I was so afraid. I just wanted out of the car, out of my broken body. I wanted the men and women driving by to stop just looking at me and help me.
I try to keep reminding myself of that death because I want it to be the first one. It’s vivid, and clear, but sometimes I remember things differently. Sometimes it feels like I was born a boy and my first death was a drowning. Sometimes I feel like I died of old age in Canada twenty years ago.
I’ve since died of broken hips, shootings, strokes, liver failure, cancer, and suicide. Cancer is not an easy way to leave. And suicide, yeah, I felt a pretty intense moment of regret when I fell.
I’ve woken up in the bodies of priests, doctors, lawyers, garbage men, CEOs, politicians, fast food employees, single moms, everyone. Sometimes it’s the most depressing life, sometimes it’s amazing and affluent. I’m always aware that I’ll die in a few days. So, if I can, I do try to enjoy it. I mean, their death is my life.
Sure, when it started happening I thought it was amazing. After the shock of the first few bodies I felt more comfortable. If I woke up in a married man or woman’s body, well, I was a teenager stuck in those bodies. I could see what it was like to have kids, to make love, what it is like to be surrounded by loving strangers on your deathbed. How to take a shower without the use of my legs.
I’ve been experiencing aspects of humanity that no one ever gets to talk about. Having to use a laxative suppository just to go to the bathroom - yeah. That took me a few days to figure out. Since then, I’ve had a lot more respect for what the wheelchair bound experience.
I’ve been beautiful women, I’ve had beer bellies, I’ve gone clubbing, been a very awkward stripper, lived in a Samoans body, and even flown a plane. No, I didn’t crash it, we landed safely, thanks to the copilot. I died of a heart attack later that night.
I’ll wake up in strange places sometimes. Normally I’ll be in a bed, though. I’ll wake up before I open my eyes and I’ll let the air fill my nostrils. Every part of the world smells different. I’ve gotten to the point where I can guess where I am.
I’ve leaned in for kisses, and felt the warmth of making love to a stranger who cried beautifully during the experience. I’ve hugged my children. I’ve given high fives to communists. I’ve watched the great silver backs. I’ve died giving birth to beautiful twin boys. And I’ve looked down from the Alps.
But those are the good lives. I’ve died as a child, as a prisoner, as a gangbanger, everything.
I’ve been raped and murdered before. Both as a man and as a woman.
I’ve been the gas station employee robbed and killed for fifty dollars in a register.
I’ve been a North Korean boy, alone in a gulag.
I’ve felt desperation while my intestines fell through my fingers. I’ve blinked my eyes after being beheaded.
I’ve been a casualty in several wars. Those aren’t easy lives. To just wake up and I’m supposed to be a member of this group of soldiers and I’m supposed to not let them down. Sometimes I’m the only one hit, and my countrymen carry me for miles to try and save me. I’ve gotten better at last words when I’m able to, but those first few times, looking up into a man’s eyes. I just knew I was supposed to be this guy’s best friend. He had done so much to save me. And the words I needed to express, well, they were lost inside me - and I just froze up, feeling the pain of the experience. Those lives are the most beautiful to experience, but I always feel guilty the next morning when I wake up. I at least get to escape those wars.
I’ve looked up my previous lives, tried to find the pattern. There is no pattern. Sometimes I’m an American, sometimes I’m not. I’ve woken up on every continent. Antarctica is lonely, but serene. Germans party all night just like the South Koreans. The streets of Saudi Arabia feel like the streets of Mexico City. England is beautiful when it isn’t raining. The Great Pyramids are perfect. The world is beautiful.
Now I’m 14, again, this time I’m a girl. Next time I’ll probably be a man.
I’m only saying all of this because I think I’ve figured it out. I think I’m supposed to give fulfillment to these families before I die. Like I’m supposed to wrap up these lives as best as I can. But this one right now… I’m not sure. As far as I can tell, the body and I are the same, and we share the experience. I feel their emotions as well as my own. So I’m pretty sure they can see everything I’m doing. From reviewing their thoughts, I get the gist of who they were. Most of them hang out a lot online, but who doesn’t these days? All I know is that they all are in slumps when I reach them. Some are truly depressed.
We begin life with promises and potential. The American Dream is a human endeavor. We start out, unafraid. We fall while walking, we babble nonsense. That’s how we grow and how we learn. Somewhere throughout our lives we grow afraid to just take it all in and live. There’s nothing to be afraid of. The beauty of life is in the little imperfections, and in finding the grace to experience that beauty in real time.
I’m not entirely sure what I’ve become, and what it means. Maybe I’m not anything besides a consciousness. Maybe none of us are. Maybe that’s supposed to be the point of all of this.
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