Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Body of Work

This is a body I live in. Skin, blood, bones, veins… is that all? Everything we are in our lives; all we learn, all we do, and all we acquire is for what?

I am a talented actor. I am a very good writer. I am funny and have lots of great ideas. If I died tomorrow what would any of that matter?

I am also a renowned failure at a lot of things, primarily relationships. My career. Ever having kids…

If my body fails, it really doesn’t matter that I am good at acting or bad at love. It won’t make a lick of difference that I can build the coolest doll house or tie cherry stems in my mouth. Death is something we have no control over.

I think the worst part of having cancer is the lack of control. My life was mine for about 2 years and then cancer came along. I can let the doctors cut off my breast and inject me with horrible poisons in hopes that it will kill all the cancer cells, but in reality there is the chance that it won’t work and I will die.

We all die. That’s really the only guarantee in life. As a kid it’s all I wanted. I started my suicide attempts at age 7. I never feared death. No, I feared clowns and mustard, but death was nothing scary. Actually, I wished for it.

One day just a few years ago I stopped fearing mustard (well, sort of) and I started liking life. Unfortunately the more I liked life the more I feared death. Finding a marble in my breast really made me see how much I love life. But I also realized how much I fear death. And there it was: looking me right in the eye.

I don’t want to die at 34. Not at 44. Not at 54 or 64. I want to at least out live my mother by a few years. Is 75 too much to ask for? But I have no real control over it. I could win the battle with cancer and never get it again but get hit by a bus next year, or shot by some nut job, or get bitten by a rabid dog. No way of knowing. And the worst part, besides how it will hurt the people who give a shit about me, is that when I die I won’t be able to write about it after.

Maybe I should write my own obituary now. Maybe I should have a funeral for myself before I die. “Put the fun back in funeral” was one of my favourite bumper stickers on my car in high school. That and “Fuck Censorship.” Ah, memories…

It’s the memories that people will have of me that… well, they will be here after I’m gone. If anyone cares to remember me. I haven’t left anything behind but my writing. My acting isn’t really on tape anywhere. Well, I guess somewhere but my best moments were on stage, un-filmed and gone forever except for the memories in the minds of those who watched.
I can only hope that I’d be able to give my writing to someone I trust and that that person would write about me after I’m gone. They could use all my words, add their own… I trust like 4 people on earth but I think I know who I’d go to for that. Of course, if I died suddenly how would that person know?

I thought about writing a will. I thought about leaving personal notes for people to open “in the event of my death.” It is a good idea I suppose. Otherwise all this writing is just words on paper that will get deleted or burned or lost. And really, I am a good writer and this stuff should be saved. Well, most of it. Maybe the emo poetry from high school can be burned.

Burned. It seems like our society has only given us so many options when certain situations arise. Death, for example: We get burial or cremation. Becoming a mummy isn’t an option anymore, is it? I choose cremation. I want my ashes split up amongst my family and friends and spread all over the world, preferably near bodies of water and in places I’ve never been to or places I really loved.

Being buried is creepy. Being encased in that coffin. Why is there a pillow in a coffin? If you are dead you don’t need a comfortable head rest. It’s just money. Greedy funeral homes. The one we used when my mom died sold book markers and videos of my mother. I made a video for her that was better and free. Assholes showed theirs and put it up on their website for 50 bucks.

After we buried my mom I couldn’t go back to that cemetery for months. I waited until Mother’s Day and the head stone was done. I knew my family would be there too but they took forever to arrive I nearly crawled out of my skin being there alone, waiting for them. See, I knew that if I was there by myself I would try to dig her up. It may sound creepy, I don’t care, it’s true. I really would have. No shovel, just my hands. She’s trapped in that fucking coffin six feet under and she can’t breathe under there!

Okay, I know, she’s dead. I know. No, really, I do. But she’s not rotting away and becoming one with the earth; she’s probably fairly well preserved and I hate knowing that. If she’s not coming back ever… which I still have trouble dealing with… then I need her gone completely. I mean, not the memories but the physical being part. It may not make sense, but neither does my constant hope to see her again and tell her about my cancer and how much I miss her and that I live in New York now and I’m really trying to be an actor. “Hey, Mom, it’s not just a 20 year phase; I really am gonna do it. And look: I’m bald!”

But it’s just her body down there. I know. It doesn’t matter; just a body. We carry it around for however long we live and we destroy it with things like alcohol or too much sun; we spend too much time concerning ourselves with how other people see us that we don’t allow ourselves to let loose and have fun because we don’t want to look ugly; we spend tons of money to improve our looks with hair styles and make-up and fancy clothes… for what? To end up six feet under in a satin lined coffin with a fluffy pillow under head that we can’t even enjoy. Or poured into a metal urn or wooden box or something and set on the mantel of aunt so-and-so or whoever was lucky enough to be given possession of our ashes. No, I’d rather be lost at sea or have my body left in nature to decompose or be eaten. At the very least I’d like to become ashes flying in the wind.

Is it weird to say I kind of envy the victims of 9-11 because they burned up? I mean, I don’t envy that kind of death; it was probably horrific, but at least it saved them from having to be buried in that coffin.

I hate confined spaces. Even in death I want to be set free. But not until I’ve passed 75 and really lived. Otherwise everything I have suffered will be for… ????????????????

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