I always found it strange that an orgasm to be rather strangely named with the French “La petite mort”. The little death? Really? Not to gross anyone out here, we’re all adults, I have a kid, so I’ve sex at least once, and using that as a point of reference I don’t see it. The obvious retort is, “how else would you describe it?” and it’s a fair question. There’s the possible Greek etymological root orgasmus, which means “swelling with moisture’ apparently, though frankly that’s a bit physical aspect and it sounds rather more like a missed opportunity to spice up the tired Bohemian comics of the 1930s and 40s with an egregiously hung nomad king. Maybe, the great awakening? But then, that’s a bit overly grandiose, the ‘little’ death implies impermanence while the word ‘great’ seems to suggest that sex makes everything great forever, no good there. Perhaps, the three-second bliss that hangs like heaven within reach before it disappears and you are left alone basking in the horror of your own base, easily distracted mind? Yeah, a bit wordy.
Anyway, that point was a tangent to my main one which is that I find the little death to be inappropriately tacked onto climax when, to my mind, it settles for organically is describing the battle with seasonal illness. Colds, Flu, Fever, etc. All those things that taken you down a peg, strip you of one or more of your faculties and leave you shuddering, chattering your teeth as your brain mistranslates and distorts episodes of The West Wing playing the background. It is in those moments, not always but occasionally, where you feel the illness getting the upper hand. Where you feel something in your genetic makeup change, a switch inside your body moving from ‘forward’ to ‘farewell’. In those manic nightmares no longer bound by the shackles of a healthy mind, in watching time and place melt, wind, and rewind in front of space and behind you, in those typhoid dreams you see so much wasted space. So many days folded into one dimensional objects, stored together like clumps of redundant data, small kernels able to be fished out with enough fever and tarred vomit.
It didn’t have to be so hard.
I made it hard. The world didn’t help, but I did do much to help myself. Through incompetence or inaction, I have terrified myself and that is a fault I carry and will not, perhaps ever, be able to rid myself of.
But inside the ominous whispers of blinking lights, and fevered dreams of 90s television characters kidnapping my family, I was stripped to bone and left exposed to a mind that, I feel rightly, cannot be called my own.
It feels like dying. A little like dying. That was liberating. Realizing that everything I had done before this moment didn’t matter. Life was a joke, a cruel, not unworthy endeavor cornered by aspirations that will be forgotten by others but you will remember in death’s echo.
Then, when the tides turn and the angels in your blood gain against its demons you are born anew, sweating, parched, and half crazed. And it changes you. Gives you just enough energy to take that liberated, intoxicated, half-broken person and promise to do better with it. Be less doubtful, be less absent, be more this, more that, more everything.
For a while.
Then the world demands you blood and you feed it to feed yourself that harrowing, humbling, horrifying confrontation with truth gets pushed pack into whatever jail will carry it and you fall back in it.
This was less than a day ago and I can already feel the old anxieties slipping back in, just be getting dressed, by knowing the perfectly scheduled routine of the day I feel it undermining my fingers, slipping between firing synapses and siphoning the energy for itself, never quite abandoning the memory of the LED of the smoke detector staring down into my soul like some myopic machine god.
It’s been a weird three days. It has been weird writing this down. Can’t say it doesn’t fit right in with the weird of the world right now.
Back to books. Back to work. Back hoping some part me will manage to store the epiphany for me to do something with it.