Suddenly she felt a need to urinate. “You see,” she cried. “I need to pee. That’s proof positive I’m not dead!”

But they only laughed again. “Needing to pee is perfectly normal!” they said. “You’ll go on feeling that kind of thing for a long time yet. Like a person who has an arm cut off and keeps feeling it’s there. We may not have a drop of pee left in us, but we keep needing to pee.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I take a piss before I go to bed. Sometimes, I would pee two or three times within the ten minutes before I fall asleep. I wish that I could fall asleep without peeing, but my inclination to pee sometimes consumes my thoughts as a compulsion. It seems, to me, to be more of a phenomenon of aging. When I had been a child, I would never pee before I go to sleep, and I would be fine. But now, as I continue aging, I could never return back to a state where I could go to bed without peeing. Not only do there exist physiological barriers that I do not understand, I have been conditioned to never return to a state where I could go to sleep without peeing ever again.

I treat some of the defining features of my personality with a similar lens. After certain experiences, I can never revert back to an earlier version of my identity in the same way I could revert back to an earlier draft of an essay. Regardless of the direction of the change, each experience changes our understanding of the world, which manifests through our construction of our own identities. Since our perception of ourselves are, by nature, defined through the events we have experienced (among other endogenous factors, I’m sure), each subsequent experience, no matter how disillusioning, could never be reversed after it has occurred.

The same could be said for the a priori construction of a relationship. Even though the concept of connection between individuals can only exist when the connection has been metaphysically idealized by other individuals, I cannot help but to believe that my relationship with other individuals exists within a collective unconscious regardless whether I can perceive it or not. Within my friendships, I have my own construction of my relationships, but beyond my own conception exists the true conception that I cannot perceive given the limitations of my ability to conceptualize. And because the existence of the relationship, according to my faith, exists beyond my perception of it, I find it deeply unsettling and comforting that each incidence of experience is recorded within a archive outside of my memory.

The same way I could never return back to time in my life where I could go to sleep without peeing, I could never return back to an earlier time in a relationship when I have not the set of experiences that have given me a more disillusioned view of the same relationship. It only takes a couple of minutes to retrospectively redefine my entire conception of a relationship, and I have certainly been through a couple of couple of minutes. Even though I should holistically conceptualize my connections to others disregarding a specific incident to define the entirety of the course of a relationship, I, as the imperfect being I am, sometimes can only reflect upon a relationship through the ending couple of moments. Those moments, like an edit that cannot be reversed, spoil the entire document without the prospect of revision.

Each book that I read fundamentally changes the way I look at the world. Each conversation I have fundamentally changes the way I look at the world. Each cup of coffee I drink fundamentally changes the way I look at the world. Some more than others. As an amalgamation of all the experiences I have ever had in the past, the references of causality that create my identity could be infinitely quantified to be linked towards an aspect of personality that I have. Some of those aspects of occurrence I can articulate. Some only exists within the collective unconscious as a series of intangible and imperceptible object of encoding that will never exist again in the sense that after I die, there will be no one left to observe these thoughts, even if indirectly.

I can convince myself that I control some aspects of my life. I can convince myself that friendships are the results of a series of choices to continue to make sacrifices and nurture. I can convince myself that the words I write on a page are those that I deliberately chose from the inner recesses of my mind, that the thoughts that I have are mine and mine alone. But, realistically, I am affected by my environment. More than affected; I am the series of effects by my environment. To say that I am more than the effects of my environment would invalidate the nature of my existence. Thoroughly questioning the fundamental beliefs I have about the universe at this stage in my life would probably cause me to end my life. And so, as long as I hold onto subjective beliefs as universal truths, I still have a reason to live.

I wonder if there is any semblance of how much misery I chase in my own life. Although there are parts of me that act instinctually, partly due to the countless other experiences that have evolved to the state of a cause within the progression of my tenure as an existent being, I wonder how many of the decisions that I have consciously weighed out within my mind are the results of me justifying pre-ordained decisions by my body through a series of logical arguments constructed by my mind. I wonder which came first, the logic or the decision?

It would be easy to realize how some of my self-destructive tendencies have caused me to make certain decisions during certain periods of my life; it is even easier to realize which experiences of my childhood had contributed to the formation of my self-destructive persona, but the act of pursuing misery for the sake of pursuing misery — I venture to question myself on how much of my everyday actions are the result of an unconscious desire to seek experiences of non-physical pain when I have experienced an otherwise absence of self-inflicted physical pain in the past few years. But, as it always is, once the knife touches, it cannot untouch itself. The fundamental fact is that there is a difference between the touch and the untouched.

I despise the nights when it’s lonely. I despise the mornings when it’s lonely.

It’s lonely. It’s always. So. Lone. ly.

I yearn for the morning to escape the night. I yearn for the night to escape the morning. But, sometimes, in the middle of the day, I feel content. I forget about the loneliness I feel during the nights and morning. I feel… not, not unhappy. I forget to forget. Those moments mean the world to me, partly because they truly create the world. Otherwise, I really am what I say I am: a shallow pool of melancholy dirtied with some forgetful moments. But even so, it seems that such solace only come temporarily. As life continues, I will find new ways to be unhappy. And, despite all my effort in creating systems where I can minimize unhappiness, it seems that sadness slowly creeps back. Irregardless of me, sadness creates itself.

But, here I am, once again writing in the dark. I know it won’t be the last time. As long as the nights feel lonely, it will never be the last time. It’s how I sleep, if I can sleep. Because, it seems as though there will never be a time in my life when I could sleep as well as I did when I was a child, when my stresses consisted of a short list of solvable problems. I miss those times, and doing so only hurts me even more. I wish I could return to a time where I could sleep like the proverbial baby. I wish I could relinquish the experience that I have accumulated. Doing so would allow me to return to a state of happiness, a state of forgetfulness, a state of unreality. Because, even as I am approaching the truth of it all (or, at least, what I consider to be truth), it seems as if the closer I creep, the more fearful I become, the more I wish that I had never seen the sights I saw at all.

I feel lonely, like I always do. I feel like I have no friends. I feel as if I only surround myself with people that will leave in a matter of time. I feel as if nothing is permanent. I feel as if nothing should be permanent; the concept of forever only causes pain when it becomes inevitably clear that friendships, especially, are not permanent. I feel as if I have ruined friendships that could have lasted. I feel as if I will continue to ruin friendships that could have lasted. I feel as if being alone is a part of my personality. I feel that I should feel wrong about that. But I don’t. I don’t feel wrong for the supposed wrongs that I have done. But I do feel wrong for not feeling wrong about my wrongdoings. Because, without guilt, I would feel happiness. And how could I allow myself to feel happy?

Like the arrow on the FedEx logo, I cannot help but to notice and never unnotice the trends in my life. The same cycles, cycling. And cycling. And cycling. I should break the cycle, I would tell myself. And I would try. And try. And fail. And it cycles. Cycles. It continues to cycle. And cycle. And no matter how many of my bones are crushed by my futile attempts to cease the wheel from cycling, it continues to cycle. And cycle. And the cycling haunts me. The shriek of the wheel turning at night keeps me from sleeping. It’s my guardian. My reminder. It’s the underlying cycle that propels every aspect of my life. My vitality. Life. The drip of water. On the dirt. Buried.