Existential dread: The feeling you get in the car, when it’s just you and you’re using your muscle memory as autopilot, and suddenly the world doesn’t make sense.
Of course, most days it makes perfect sense. I am Heather. That is my name; no question. I love keeping fish as a hobby. I do what I do because it comes natural and because the world is the way it is. But why is it?? Why is the sky blue? Why is my hair that dirty blonde that shines golden in the sun? I get bad about this, sometimes.
People like to presume I’m in the prime of my life. I’m in my mid-twenties with a career/degree oriented job for a really well regarded university. I travel and gives talks. I’m trim and in good physical health. I have so much going for me. On weekends, when I’m all alone…I get bad, though. I get real bad. I think we all do. I know I do.
Sometimes I become listless and wonder over my purpose. An animal dies and I can only think to replace it. To keep on the way I’ve been. The way I know to live. My identity is wrapped up in husbandry. I look after animals and that is most of what I am. However, when energy drains of my body and I stop and my mind is dizzy, I question it. I question every detail of my life and there isn’t an answer. Things just are, and you can ask why and still they remain. I fear death and I cling to the fear of never accomplishing enough before I go. I want to be remembered for my influence and not my woes.
Humans invent religion and all sorts of ideas to fill this void that comes up when we cease to move and act. The existential dread is why we march on. To forget. To swat away that invitation to the abyss. The strain and the rift. There’s so much at stake and so much to lose.
I know you get bad. I get bad, too.