Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope

Dear Dead End on Progressive Ave.,

You seem sad lately, upset.

If you're worried no one likes you, you're not alone.

Popularity really doesn't matter as much as you think.

We all tend to take things too seriously.

We are all simply alive and trying to figure out who we are according to ourselves and, maybe even more so, to others (as we often can’t seem to define ourselves any other way), and this is the source of much of our suffering.

Half our lives are over.

Half our lives.

Half our lives are always over.

We will be dead very soon.

Life is so short, so sad.

I want to cry about life all the time.

But there’s no point wasting that time being upset about things that really don’t matter.

The problem with perception is that it convinces us we’re correct in our assumptions, assumptions which most often have no basis in reality (whatever 'reality' is).

When we perceive we are being threatened (ultimately every threat is the threat of death in one form or another), we react.

This is natural.

But our reactions are only based on how we perceive the reactions of other people who have perceived our previous reactions to them as threatening.

There is no end to where this begins.

This is universal.

Suffering is universal.

As I said, you’re not the only who goes through these things.

I, too, am alone.

I am afraid.

I feel sick every day thinking about existence, wondering why it is I suffer from the many problems I have (all of which you already know about, so I'd rather not go into it here), why no one else around me 'appears’ to be suffering as much as I do.

But I think if we all had a chance to ‘exist’ in one another’s heads, for even a brief moment, we would realize there is no such thing as ‘alone’, because we are all suffering.

We are all afraid of that suffering, as we are all afraid of the end of that suffering.

We are all going to die, and we are afraid because we don’t know what that means (let alone what 'life' means).

Ironically, we want to preserve our suffering because it seems to define us, seems to make us feel like we’re different from other people.

We gain a sense of identity from it.

We think it makes us special, gives us a sense of individuality.

It doesn’t.

We are not special, we are not different from other people.

There is no ‘other people’, just our perception of how fragmented existence can seem.

Our reactions to ‘other people’ are just another way of saying we are not happy with ourselves because we have not completely identified or come to terms with those ‘selves’ according to what we perceive as those ‘selves’ as they exist in the world.

So our reactions to ‘other people’ are simply reactions to our ‘selves’, reactions to the individual suffering we perceive (which feels personal but isn’t because all ‘other people’ feel it, too).

Unfortunately, these reactions, too, help to define us—or so we perceive.

You think you’re not one of those writers people like.

As much as this thought upsets you, it gives you a sense of comfort knowing that, in your lack of feeling like you belong, you can somehow know who you are according to who you are not.

You’re not one of those writers people like.

But it doesn’t matter.

You don’t matter.

Neither do I.

I’m trying to appear ‘enlightened’, but the truth is I, too, feel invisible to ‘other people’ while forgetting there's really no such thing as ‘other people’ because we're all the same, because we all feel like this.

We both spend way too much time allowing ourselves to get upset about this.

This is not conducive to a happy existence, and it doesn't solve anything.

We can spend our time much more effectively by accomplishing positive goals which will help us alleviate the suffering we feel.


Ethel Rohan said...

I hear you. We are all mirrors to each other, to ourselves. More and more, I get that happiness (I prefer 'contentment') is a choice. Take that choice, feel this hug. XX

Eric Beeny said...

Thanks, Ethel, I'm feeling it...

infamousrollin24 said...

Eric, it is a great occurrence that I visited your blog tonight and read this piece. You have, once again, gotten inside our head and brought it out for our eyes. Thanks for continuing to write. Best.

-Nate Hall

Eric Beeny said...

Big Nate Hall! Thanks, bro...

infamousrollin24 said...

Re read this again; magnificent. I especially like the meandering of lines from large to small, terse, but compact lines... and the tone fluctuates accordingly; as our minds embrace one thought one moment and another the next, these lines react similarly from one to the next.

Emerson said that our daily convictions, whether they negate yesterday's, are always universal and correct if we believe them to be so; this piece seems to reflect that notion.