I think I’ll kill myself today. The weather’s quite nice. Blue skies, warm sunshine, gentle breeze, aroma of rain soaked earth, chirping of birds; it’s a good day for it. A curious thing it is to die: it’s everyone’s destiny, each of us making our way steadily towards it from the first breath and yet we live in such fear of it that we’re driven to madness by the prospect of the end so much that we invent elaborate fantasies in a bid to deny its power over us and end up not living at all. But what is it that I truly fear about the end?
I once fancied myself in possession of the samurai spirit of the East and told myself that if I ever did choose to end it, I would do so with the courage and determination of the ‘warrior’. I pictured a man, robed in white, grey and black, seated on a coloured reed mat. Before him on a snow covered patch of mountainside, a scroll, a quill and a katana. A Wakizashi in the right hand. One slow and resolute cut at the end. The picture is still in my head.
I am afraid of the pain that I will leave and that which I will take. I am afraid that in the end I will fail and be condemned to a life of regret. I cannot abide that and so I will prepare well, weave the mat and sharpen the blade. I fear too, like all men, a life of broken dreams, meaninglessness and pretense; a lie of a life lived in the skin of shame, striving to be what I am not for another’s sake. So, today is the end.
The chief problem with killing yourself of course, is how to go about it. I’ve never understood people who jump off buildings and bridges or step in front of speeding vehicles. If you’re looking for spectacle, nothing beats self immolation in a public place, obviously a good distance from any fire extinguisher. If you’re stoic enough to sit still while the flames consume you, then bravo! I however don’t have the desire to make a big deal of it, at least not for anyone else but myself, so I won’t be jumping, rushing into oncoming traffic or setting myself ablaze. I’m going to go for a more subtle exit but one that allows me to feel every heartbeat. This rules out drug overdoses and a bullet to the head. I once choked on water and it was one of the more terrifying life experiences, along with waking up in the middle of the night unable to draw breath so that’s a no to drowning and suffocation. I could go for the drawn out option like alcoholism and drug abuse but that’s expensive and involves collateral damage, I’m bound to leave some scarred friends, broken hearts and an offspring or two and I can’t have that on my head. There’s the rope but that lacks the dignified repose of the stoic, which leaves me with the trusty blade. Besides, there’s a bit of poetry to the cutting of a thread.
Now that I’ve dealt with the how, it’s time to consider the where. It has to be somewhere private and peaceful. I don’t want to be disturbed while I am unraveling. Who knows how long it will take to muster the resolve to cut? It also has to be somewhere I’ll slowly and gently return to the earth. A cabin in the woods perhaps or a small shack on a lonely island or a cave high up in the mountains, facing the rising sun. Yes, that’s it! A cave in the mountains where the truth lives. I’ll live out the rest of my days, a hermit at the end.
Why? Why? Why, you ask. It’s simple really. The only choice you ever make in life, is how you die, or, to put it in familiar language, how you live your life. To end one’s own life is the ultimate expression of free will; so I choose to.
I think I’ll go for a walk now.