why do dads sneeze so loud
Rachel R. White is a journalist/essayist/internet personist. This is the headspace.
Passage from Zippermouth by Laurie Weeks, writing about her teenage obsession with the actress Vivien Leigh:
"Part of her allure was that she spelled "Vivien" with an e, not an a, the e more refined and seductive, the a somehow thudding and crude, witness the barbarian Vivian Vance.
Each day after school I’d lock my bedroom door, open the closet, and stand with my peanut butter sandwich, staring into Vivien’s green eyes as if my gaze, held long enough, could jump-start the pulse in her throat, compel the hand with that cigarette off the page and up to my lips to offer me a drag, her body following to step gracefully into my room, suspended tobacco smoke drawn back into the chamber of her mouth as she starts to breathe again for real.
Jesus, I couldn’t imagine: Mom vacuuming the same spot suspiciously outside my door while inside there’s this movie star thing looking into your eyes….”
Did atheism make me more or less terrified of death?
I ask the group if they have heard of DMT. It’s a psychedelic compound found in trace amounts in plants, animals, humans. When extracted and smoked it becomes a powerful hallucinogen. The guy who introduced me to DMT said everyone he’d turned on reported no longer being afraid of dying. There is also that documentary about DMT which posits that it’s the chemical released at death, and also during some stages of sleep.
“I am a pretty strong atheist,” says the man in academia. “I find it curious as a secular buddhist practitioner how talk of the afterlife distracts us. We exist now and it is certain that you will die, but how is that going to affect how you live now?”
I nod. For me this is part of the DMT experience. Or any spiritual experience. If you are embraced by something larger than yourself how could you not only see a better view of your own life?
“For some it is comforting to think of after-life,” says the therapist.
One of the ‘death doulas’ interviewed for my story talked about a hospice patient who was having a hard time letting go. Through energy work, the doula sensed she was already living a new life in another dimension. Hearing this that helped her pass.
“I know one woman who is going to be made into jewelry when she goes,” says the therapist, eyes darting equally between the group. “She’s going to give the rings to her kids. I mean you can become a coral reef…”
“Or a tree.” I offer.
The professor sits back in his chair. “In some ways it is aspiring to a sense of immortality. Being an organ donor. Being a book. It is to say, ‘my life had meaning,’ maybe it is a way of theorizing this natural instinct… to have a meaningful life.”
“But if you pass through this life and no one remembers you does that strike you as meaningless?” asks the New York Times journalist.
The way I’ve been thinking about it, I say, is on a most basic level the point of life is to continue it. By having kids or recreating life in art, writing.
“For me the ego is coming in big time here,” says the academic.
Read the story on Thought Catalog