June 1, 2022
Running to Death is a monthly newsletter featuring words and music by Ryan Stout and Matthew Bailey
by Matthew Bailey
by Ryan J. Stout
Who Am I To Deny Another's Actualized Nihilism
(Also - Sleeping)
(((A Forever Asleep)))
Some may call it: black & white thinking. Some may say it is a symptom of a deeper psychopathology. This may be called (labeled) a lot of things, but I am tired, and I desire to keep things simple (at the moment, anyway). And, also at times, maybe my self-denial is just a greater form of denial, but (and also) pulling fine toothed combs from needled haystacks in perpetual search of answers from previous year’s data gathering trudges seemingly now convinced - again: exhausted. However framed, the aforementioned’s vague (and most likely allusive only inside my mind) purposeness, an extension of trauma’s overstated neediness - a regular combatant to being fearfully misunderstood: I passed by a dead and bloated, tattered and desolate, fear and hardship overtaken, long and dirty fingernail’d person (I perceived them to be of the male gender, but these days, the reductionist razor of emotional science wields a potential in your sleep social wrist slitting) whose body and mind conceded to its finality in the entranceway of my favorite bagel shop, while walking behind two well-to-do (at least in fashion and apparel presentation of Polo and Prada) couples who, seemingly, remained unconcerned as they passed an odor - I imagine only produced by a lifeless evacuate body; and the series of thoughts that followed were: who am I to (“should I see if he’s al…”) interfere with another human being’s desire (at least in my experience) to no longer want to exist, and:
And I learned that I was a liar (One more time around) / I learned that I was a liar (One more time around) / I learned that I was a liar (One more time around) / I learned that I was a liar (One more time around) / Singing, one more time around might do it / One more time around might make it / One more time around might do it / One more time around I might make it / The day I tried to live, yeah / Just like you… (Soundgarden. Superunknown. A&M Records, 1994.)
Many years ago a friend told me in response to a series of words I do not recall, that what I just said could occupy a psychologist for a lifetime. Their response reminds me of a joke I read in the, “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” section of Reader’s Digest (also many years ago): the setup details escape me, but it led to a husband betting his wife that she could not both compliment and offend him in the same statement. She proved him wrong, and quickly told him that he had the biggest penis of all his friends. This discourseful dichotomy sums up my experiential daily life of being in perpetual awe of the Natural World’s overwhelming beauty, love, and compassion as it engages in battle with all the human things that make humans human.
A slew of psychological theories, which, much like the biggest penis of all your friends answer to the husband's foolish attention seeking inquiry…
“(But also, Ryan, take it easy dude: it was a joke from a Reader’s Digest you read at your grandmother’s house 30 years ago. And yet, you choose to eviscerate a fictional man’s character. For what? Intellectual superiority in an essay potentially read by three or four people? I hate to break it to you: they already know you are a liar. Do you feel the need to, uh…needle…haystack…fine tooth comb…oh yeah, that’s right. You are tired. “Gooose, blah - blah…” Shit, am I talking to myself again. Wait…did I just say that? Write this? This? My man, you are playing right into your dirty (not with actual dirt; I am very clean. I take my personal hygiene seriously - I’ll have you know! I’ve been called…oh shit… sigh…fastidious…Some say…fuck…that there is a…goddamnit!…compulsive…sigh…even…an impulsiveness to your behavior…and…double goddamnit!! Some would go so far as to call it…a…characteristic…of…your…triple sigh - followed by double sigh…psychological pathology…psychopathology)…little hands: Bro! Bro bro bro bro bro: you are who you are, and maybe, just maybe, life is a series of encounters one may or may not choose to utilize as stepping stones to build oneself, with varying degrees of resistance, into the person we are all genetically programed to be: which is to say - for one to maximize their biopsychosocialspiritual potential gifted from an unimaginably beautiful universal consciousness extant far beyond our conceptual and perceptual limitations.) But, you also know that is bullshit. When positioned side by side with someone (not relativism - reality (yeah, reality…good luck with that…lol) with bird-headed dwarfism, it is safe to say that my life has been nothing more than a series of luxurious interactions.)”
can steer one into what may feel like a definitive answer, grounded in certainty. An often desperate action or inaction fueled by recourse and influenced by proximity's ease, selected to make sense of the absurd and obviate its inherent discomfort, can be called upon. Another word for this is: order. The converse path is chaos - a mindset frequently born of order seeking exhaustion, and / or, sometimes, choice overload, which can lead to a belief in nothing - often referred to as nihilism. But, the truth is, everyone’s fatalistic final nail to be driven into their decomposing coffin (metaphorical or hyperbolic…whichever? Both?) is around the corner - like the poor fella around the corner from my apartment. And my reason for walking past, despite knowing all too well the “reality” of his catastrophic, intolerable existence is what the National Park Service calls Leave No Trace Principles. Or, perhaps, a part of me was envious of his commitment to follow through; or, well, my little yarn here is merely anecdotal. A series of dreams mentally recorded and coalesced on the page. A vehicle to express a final thought; a vehicle to expose myself; a vehicle to be both the person of chaos and order; a vehicle to share my dichotomously discourseful hypercritical nature pressed against my genetic predisposition and experientially earned empathic heart and mind. Or, just maybe, life is an unsolvable equation composed of myriad variables upon infinite subdivisions. But, most likely, at least when viewed from my metaphorical, desirous, artist-in-hopefulness eye (a callback to this essay’s attempted thematic black & white image): the broad strokes of every conceived shade of gray vary, never repeating in length, width, height, direction, dimension, and all possible configurations of visual production and auditory expressions of paint doused brushes swooshed across the infinite universal canvas of totality.
“Are you sleepy yet baby Malcolm? Please…pleeeeese be…I’m soooo tirrrred”
by Ryan J. Stout