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This Won’t Hurt A Bit: Go Fuck Your Self Help

this won't hurt a bit(2)The self help books have started.

Much to the chagrin of both doctors and actual literary readers alike, the bookstores are now lined floor to wall with self help books about recovering from no longer having to recover from anything. People who were once terminally ill, thanks to death being cured, now can read books with such titles as “Til Life Do Us Part: Coping With Your Terminally Ill Spouses Recovery” and “7 Stages Of Grief; One Mans Journey To Legally Die”. Now on the Dr. Phil-esque shows on daytime television, we’re witnesses to a parade of people who are being affected first hand by this situation. Women who had accepted their parents impending demise from Cancer who’re now disappointed they won’t get what was willed to them and men who were ready to move on after their sick child passed away now having to stay with the family. It’s changed media too. Now the trope of “sick girl falls in love, teaches cute boy everlasting life lessons, dies anyway” is long since a thing of the past. Now it’s more “sick girl falls in love, sick girl gets better, guy leaves her anyway”.

Therapists are now overbooked by people who had once been told by a doctor they had 6 months to live, who now have to cope with the fact that their lives are no longer shortened. Here’s a statement I read from one of them:

What happens is that when you’re told that you’re going to die, the first instinct the human mind has is to deny it. That’s why we have the 7 stages of grief, the 7th being the acceptance of this information. Over a period of time, you come to terms with your demise, you accept that this has been your life and that it’s just time to move on. However, when you suddenly find yourself with your lifespan no longer shortened, your mind isn’t sure how to deal with that. You were prepared to be dead. You’d accepted the inevitability of nonexistence. Now, suddenly, here you are with the next 40 years ahead of you and unsure what to do to fill the time. It can really mess with a person.

People are now enrolling in classes to relearn how to live. Rediscover hobbies, interests and what to do with their free time, along with how to live a day to day life. Out of one medical change, an entire market has boomed, bringing along with it the financial prosperity of the 90s. I went to one of these classes on a whim, just to see what it was like, and the first thing I discovered was that, much like the death industry, what was now being coined “The Life Industry” is a big crock of shit. In fact, the medical community has such faith in their industry, they’ve even started putting out promotional material, including this infographic they posted on the wall at the hospital I work at.

living forever

Yeah. Things are going great on this side. In fact, the only real downside is that we don’t have much work to do around here these days. Mostly, myself and the other nurses find ourselves playing card games or reading when we have nothing else to do. Oh, sure, sometimes someone comes in with something wrong with them (a sword through the chest or something minor like that), but the flurry is over in a matter of minutes and the patched patient is back up and ready for another day.

But the classes…they’re something else. A “teacher” will often talk to the class about how they came to the conclusion that life isn’t something that should end, and that we should fully take advantage of the gift we’ve been given. He or she will ramble on and on about how we could use our extensions for good, to better the world, society, ourselves, etc. What they won’t say is how advocating for life really helps us. Overpopulation is already a big problem, and with people refusing to die, it’s only going to get more and more crowded as we continue to reproduce. I might just be a nurse who hasn’t been in the field that long, but from what I can tell, this is only going to lead to serious overcrowding.

Save the world. Kill something.

“This Won’t Hurt A Bit: Memoirs From A Post Medical World” is a satirical health column created & written by Maggie Taylor. If you enjoy what you’ve read here, maybe donate to my SquareCash, so I can continue doing this for you guys. It’s much appreciated!

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This Won’t Hurt A Bit: “Don’t Fear The Reaper”

this won't hurt a bit(2)¬†We’ve done it, we’ve cured death. Did you see the infomercial last night? We cured death. Our species, long since plagued by the finality of life, no longer has to fear that forever burdensome habit of dying. Now you, your children, your children’s children and any children they might have (which you’ll be around to meet now, thanks to this breakthrough), never have to worry about funeral costs, life insurance, last wills and testaments and all that other petty crap we used to dump on our families after we died. For far too long, the funeral industry profited off of peoples grief. Selling something to someone when they’re in a clearly emotional state for the loss of their loved one? Disgusting, and now a thing of the past.

See, what happened was this. The richest people in the world were tired of dying. Realizing they couldn’t take their financial savings with them, and perturbed at the thoughts of either having the will them to someone else they didn’t think do enough to deserve it or being given away to CHARITY, they decided to finally, once and for all, defeat the concept of mortality. This way, they could live forever and be even richer. Unfortunately, this meant that they would be curing death for everyone, including poor people, which would just not do, so, they came up with the next best thing. They not only cured death, but then profited off of it by selling it only to those who could afford it. Capitalism at it’s finest, if you ask me! This weeds out the “worst offenders” and ensures that population control continues ever onward.

When the news broke, stocks in the mortuary, funeral and medical industry sunk to new lows. No more headstones, graveyards, coffins, embalming costs, medical bills, you name it, so long as you can afford it. Health care? Forget health care. It’s now life care. As a newly minted nurse at [redacted], I cannot tell you how many grown men I saw (doctors, mostly) sobbing to themselves simply because they would no longer profit off of illness, because we all know, there’s no reason to pretend at this point; it’s more cost effective in a monetary driven society to treat something and keep people ill than to cure them and lose profits. Even the surgeon general released a statement:

Does everyone know what a Utopia is? A Utopia is the concept of a perfect society, in which everyone is treated fairly and equally, there is no crime and now, thanks to the ‘miracle’ that is modern science, no more death. In essence, Utopia is the eugenics of the world. It’s the idea that everything should be one way; perfection. Unfortunately, this is not how things were designed to be. Human beings are meant to die. We’re meant to cease life. We’re here for a short amount of time, and then we move on. Look at all the damage we’ve done, for god sakes, just in the short span of time we’ve been here. Now think about that damage multiplied because we can’t die. It’s lunacy. No. I cannot, and will not, condone this.

The hilarious, ironic twist here is, with death basically obsolete now, you have to fight for your right to die. That’s right. It’s always been a fight for your right to die if you’re terminally ill or of some sort like that, but now they’re trying to take away your right to death. I mean, let’s be honest, the concept of suicide being illegal has always been hilarious, has it not? What are they going to do if you succeed? Arrest your corpse? Posthumously execute you? Get fucking real. If people have the right to live, then people have the right to die. It works both ways, but what do I know, I’m just a nurse.

Frankly, I don’t want to live forever. It’s tedious enough as it is, and I’m only 35, but god damn, 185 more years of this? No thank you. And it’s not like you naturally stay youthful. You just don’t die. There’s steps to be taken to staying fit if you want to stay alive forever, but hey, that’s more money lining the pockets of the people who started this whole mess in the first place. Death was the only thing I was guaranteed in life, and now they’re trying to take THAT away from me! Be proud of your inevitable expiration date. I know I am.

“This Won’t Hurt A Bit” is a weekly satirical column I’m trying out. If you like this, or any other content you read here, perhaps you’d like to donate to my Kofi via PayPal? Just a few bucks helps my girlfriend and me buy groceries, pay rent and more. Please don’t make me get a real job.

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Art Is Dead

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the concept of a “legacy”. Perhaps it came from the fact that my family didn’t pay me any attention or that I didn’t have any real friends, I realized that if I worked hard enough, was skilled enough, got lucky enough that I could make something that would stand the test of time, even to a small amount of people, and mean something to them after I was gone, thus making me remembered. I wanted to be here even after I wasn’t here. I was so terrified by the concept of nonexistence that I just had to find a way to exist, even after I didn’t physically exist anymore. I drew, I wrote, I made films, I did a million things to try and fix this problem, and ultimately after 15 years none of it has made a single lick of difference.

Now, on the cusp of my thirties, I find that instead, I’m wanting to leave as little a footprint on this planet as possible in terms of my existence. I want there to be no evidence whatsoever that I was ever here. How does one go from obsession with legacy to obsession with nothingness? I don’t want a paper trail. I want my birth certificate, any identifying papers (ID, social security, you name it), and anything I ever made to be burnt to a cinder or at the very least, locked away tight in a safe nobody can ever reopen. I want to have not existed. Sometimes I sit down, and I look through the art I’ve made, the novels I have unpublished on my computer, and everything else, and I just think who am I to be filling the world up with more uninspired garbage nobody is interested in? Why don’t I do something worthwhile, actually leave the world with something worth caring about, try and better it somehow in the short time I’ll be here? But instead, I continue to force “art” out of me all for the sake of nothing other than my own ego.

I used to qualify it by saying I made art to help myself cope with things. That it was my therapy, and it helped me deal with everything around me. I realize now that that’s a pretty huge lie. That was just my way to continue making shit without realizing I’d lost interest in it. But now I realize I don’t really enjoy anything anymore. I thought that after so many years I’d really found my calling, but I have no calling. I have no purpose. My art isn’t a career, it’s barely a hobby, and I have no reason to be here. Maybe I’m just going through a really rough patch, I’ll willing to entertain the idea, but…

But after a lifetime of abuse from almost every angle, of disinterest in everything I do from almost every angle, including my own at this point, why bother doing anything. Why bother even being here. What happens when you lose interest in the one thing that’s kept you around your entire life? What happens then?

What happens indeed.

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Once More Around The Sun

Today is my birthday.

When I was a little girl, I never dreamed I’d live past being 10. Then it got pushed up to 20. Then 30. Granted, while I’m only turning 28, I’ve learned a few things. The first is to stop counting upwards using only increments of 10’s, and secondly that for as long as I can put off ending my life, I might just make it further in life. I’m not happy, don’t mistake what I’m saying for growth, cause it’s not, but what I am saying is that for some people, existence isn’t a struggle. They enjoy being alive, at least on a base human level, enjoy seeing friends, having their families, getting jobs, having relationships, etc. But for others, it’s a struggle, and for me it’s an absolute slog. So, other people go through life, sometimes having a midlife crisis or so along the way, until they finally reach their 80s and die. Meanwhile, I’m actively bored of existing, yet because there’s such a stigma surrounding suicide, shaming people who simply don’t want to hurt anymore, and also because I’m always constantly in the middle of something (a movie, laundry, writing this blog post you’re reading), I keep having to put off killing myself.

Now, people may take that and go “Well, that indecision means you really don’t want to do it then!” and while I respect everyones right to their opinion, no, they’re wrong and they should shut up. Did they make this diagnosis from the comfort of their bedroom doctors desk chair? You don’t know me, or what I’ve been through or how I feel. I WANT to die. I do. I just keep having shit come up that has to be taken care of, and I’m not one to flake on responsibilities and abandon projects. In essence, my perfectionism is extending my life sentence, and yes I say life sentence and not life span, because much like prison, I didn’t ask to be here and I certainly want it to be over with. Now, I’ve written a blog post in the past about how if you can come up with things to do like “I can’t kill myself until this tv show is over” or “I can’t end my life until I feed my dog” then you can keep yourself from dying, but this isn’t that.

This is about literally being so busy to never have time to die. People complain all the time about being ‘so busy’. Every single college student will tell you that, that they’re ‘so busy’, like getting up at 11 is so hard when they forget that they used to get up at 7 to go to high school. People stay busy with jobs, with social lives, with hobbies. Everywhere you look, at any given point, somebody is doin’ something. They’re reading a book, or riding a bike or watching a movie or having dinner with friends or going on dates or working until closing, or, yes, being in school. Everyone has a constricted schedule in which what they want to do often takes a backseat to what they have to do. In my case, the thing that keeps getting pushed back is killing myself, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it. Just like those other people, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to take the weekend off for themselves and try and learn a new language or see the new action flick, they just don’t have the time or the energy, and let’s face it, killing yourself takes a lot of effort. My preference has always been to hang myself, but then I gotta get a rope so I gotta probably go to the hardware store and buy a rope and then learn to tie a knot good enough that it won’t come undone, and then find somewhere to hang myself, find a surface high enough that it’ll kill me when I’m not standing on it anymore. I mean, by the time I got to the actual act of hanging myself, I’m wasted half my fuckin’ day just prepping, and that’s without a note! Honestly, who’s got the fuckin’ time?

So, this is just what’s working for me. I hope those who are struggling also continue, as I don’t want anyone else to die. I just personally don’t wanna be alive, but I am, and I’m working with the hand I’ve been dealt. So let’s go for one more round universe, take me around the sun another time.

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Beauty

I was once a leaf, perched high atop a tree; I was once a flower, growing from the ground

I was once a painting, made for all to see; I was once a song, a symphony of sound

But seasons change and leaves fall out, they’re stepped on, crushed to dust

And flowers are all picked out, to give to those you trust

And paintings are stored in closets, never to be seen again

And music, it becomes muted, and never makes it to the end

Everything that was once beautiful, that we held in high esteem; everything we all admired, everything that made us dream

It all goes away eventually, nothing’s as it seems; beauty gives way to darkness, laughter gives way to screams

So destroy me all you want, erase my heart and soul; quiet all my thoughts and words and take away control

Because no matter what you do, I was beautiful one day; and I know that’s more than you will ever get to say.

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Time Capsule

Every year I go to my father’s for his birthday.

I don’t take him out for a meal, or to see a film or anything like that. We talk for a while, I give him his gift, and then we do what we’ve done every year for the last 7 years…we open up his time capsule. Inside, there are 5 items, each as important as the last. We take them out one by one, examining and discussing them. The first is a beautiful, golden ring. He puts it in the time capsule, because he wants to make sure it never gets lost, and he wants to give it to me when I get married. He says it’s a perfect fit, and I know it’s true, because I’ve tried it on. On the inner curve of the ring, there’s an inscription that reads, “Your smile is my oxygen.”

Next would have to be the camera. It’s a small, black camera that he took all of my childhood photos on, and that he took every photo in general on for as long as I can remember. He and my mother bought it at a thrift store before they got married, and he’d used it ever since. He even took every photo from their honeymoon on it. He tells me that I should do the same, ‘keep it in the family’, so to speak.

After that would be the corsage. It’s a beautiful shade of pink, and it fits perfectly on my wrist. It was my mothers as well, and she was the one who put it into the time capsule. He got it for her on their prom night, and she still cherishes it he says.

After the corsage comes the key. It’s the key to the first place my parents owned. It was their dream house. He says my mom wishes they still lived there, but I know better, that she’s happy where she is now. She’s happy where they are. But, that aside, it’s still an important piece of their history, and therefore, it’s made its way into the time capsule.

Finally, the last item in the box is a baby photo of me. It was taken by that same camera, in the hospital, mere moments after I was born. In the photo, my mother is holding me, beaming so happily, and my father says it’s her favorite photo of all time. After we’re through, we repack the time capsule, put it back onto the top shelf of his closet and go to dinner. We do this every single year.

We do this every single year, and we will continue to do so. We do it for mom. She’s been gone a while now, but they made that time capsule together on her deathbed in the hospital, where they spent her last days together. She told him that this way, they’d never be apart. This way, none of us would be apart. My father won’t admit it, but he misses her more than he lets on, though he tries to stay strong. But, if you look at just the right angle into his eyes, you can see her, still caught in his gaze, looking just as beautiful as the day they met.

We miss you, mom.

Dad especially.

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This Is My Jam

When I was a little girl, every year in elementary school at the end of the year, they piled us into the auditorium like cattle, made us sit on the floor and watch a video presentation of photos and video clips and such taken over the course of the year of the kids, and along with the video was the song “Forever Young”. Every single year they did this, every single year we heard “Forever Young”.

Do you really want to live forever?

That’s an actual lyric from this song they played to kids in elementary schools. To be honest, I doubt a lot of kids wouldn’t take any note of that, but being who I am, I did, and it fucked with me. I had family members die when I was still in elementary school, it’s true, but I don’t think it was until having that hammered home in my head every fucking year that I truly became self aware of mortality. Ever since then, I’ve had a problem accepting that I will die, and once I had that realization, the realization that we all die anyway no matter what, I hit an even bigger realization: Why bother living at all. Hello suicidal tendencies, thanks Alphaville.

And with there being so many songs out there about mortality, about life and death and sadness and existence, why the fuck was it the quintessential 80s prom slow dance anthem that made me question life as I knew it? The real issue is that once you hit that peak, there’s no going back either. That’s one oopsie you can’t unwhoopsie. As if a kid doesn’t have enough problems leading into adolescence, I hardly doubt nihilism is something they also should have to deal with. I had a lot on my plate as it was; being autistic, keeping my sexuality a secret and being somewhat ashamed of it, and great now I have to wonder about the meaning of life itself on top of it. Great. Book reports? Fuck book reports. Existentialism is where it was at.

But…there’s shockingly an upside to being that self aware, especially that young. It really puts everything into perspective, makes you realize you need to make the most of the time that you have, if you want it to mean a damn thing once you are gone. For me, that meant writing as much as I could and creating as much art as I could. Something to leave behind. Something that meant something to someone. Something that meant anything to anyone. The way I saw it, the only things that lasted were the things we created to last, so we needed to leave behind as much as we could for others to remember. Or, you know, remember at least until the sun explodes and literally everything dies, but still.

Existence, it’s…a weird thing, honestly.

People literally tell you that life is a gift. That it’s precious. They often tell you this while they’re eating an animal. Life is only precious if it fits their idea of what life is and who deserves it. Not that I’m any sort of animal activist, but still. They tell you that you’re so lucky to be here at this point in time in history. Really? A planet plagued with overpopulation, with war and famine and injustice and hatred and greed? I’m lucky, huh? I guess we are, because it allows us to create art mocking these things. It allows us to write songs that speak out against these things. Songs that enlighten us and change our frame of mind. Songs about being young forever. Yeah, I would like to be forever young, actually. When you’re young everything is fresh and new and exciting, not stale and cold like when you’re older. Maybe that’s the point of the song. To recognize how jaded you can become. To push the truth that to survive, you need to stay forever young, even if only at heart, because otherwise you risk becoming cynical and spiteful and cruel. Being forever young allows you to deal with things with a childlike innocence, a view of the world where everyone isn’t just painted black and white but with every color in the crayon box. People say kids are inherently evil. People say that hatred is taught. I think I’ve stated before that I think love is the one that’s taught, because you have to teach kids not to hit and to share, but that doesn’t mean kids are entirely evil in general.

Kids should get more credit than they’re given for seeing the world a lot more clearly than any adult really does. A national tragedy happens and all the adults look for meaning, search for reasoning, ask “why did this happen” and mourn for years. A tragedy happens and a kid says, “Well…that sucks. Nothing I can do about it. Oh well.” Is it because they simply don’t understand the enormous ramifications? Possibly. But they say ignorance is bliss, so maybe there’s something to that.

People say Bob Dylan is a spokesperson for the world. People say John Lennon was a lover for the world. We’re all allowed to have our opinions, but honestly, Alphaville are the true heroes.

Do I want to be forever young?

Yes. And I will flourish because of it.