Note to Self (35) I am a Manichean

I was listening to “Angels” by the matchless Robbie Williams this morning on my commute.

I sit and wait
does an angel contemplate my fate
and do they know
the places where we go
when we´re grey and old
´cos I´ve been told
that salvation lets their wings unfold
so when I’m lying in my bed
thoughts running through my head
and I feel that love is dead
I’m loving angels instead

and through it all she offers me protection
a lot of love and affection
whether I’m right or wrong
and down the waterfall
wherever it may take me
I know that life wont break me
when I come to call she wont forsake me
I’m loving angels instead 

That song made me think of life and death, and everything that happens between the day we were born until the last we spend on this earth, and I wondered: would the Manichean in me like to feel immortality? Would that new state give me the freedom my soul desperately longs for?

I would not want to be like these vampires and other nightly creatures who seek revenge for their loved ones, kill for pleasure, or unsuccessfully try to go back to their miserable mortal existence by hanging out with humans and eventually falling in love with them. I understand why it sounds attractive at first, because they’re so vulnerable and blood thirsty, a rare combination of gentle and mean that always excites the hungry beast within each of us. But are they really worth the effort?

Vampires feed on blood, and live at night. They’re also dead. You would mate with a corpse. With werewolves, you would mate with a wolf. Demons, fairies and all so derived creatures coming from other worlds and dimensions are like space aliens in a way. They’re completely foreign to us. Just imagine the worst attribute one of these creatures might have and try to find it sexy…. Knowing that we already can barely tolerate ourselves as humans, I, therefore, find it difficult to believe that we would love to be intimate with such  creatures….. But hey, this comes only from me, if you dig it, good for you! I am no judge here. Just expressing my opinion. This makes for great horror stories for sure.

Since I would not be turned on by any of these unfamiliar bodies, I tried to imagine myself as a human reaching an immortal state without ever becoming a vampire or a werewolf. And that’s when I thought of the Manicheans. In my series, I created supernatural beings called “Spirits”. They live as floating atoms, and can control three of the four elements – water, fire and air. They were flesh and blood once, but their appearance got altered after the planet they lived on got burned by a cosmic ray shower, and the proton reactor of the spaceship they were trying to escape in burst and pulverized them into dust. During their struggle to understand their new form, they developed an extreme sensitivity to pain, and fed until completely and solely sustaining from it. Pain is the motor of their world, similarly as it is of ours. Pain is what drives us to feel and live, love and hate, save and kill. Pain is faithful and lingers everywhere we wander. I wrote a whole monologue about pain in the first volume of the Manicheans that I’m pasting here.

Pain

The first time I consciously realized what pain was, was when I went to kindergarten for the first time. I spent my first day at school crying and screaming at the gate because I was devastated my caretaker had left me. I felt a terrible sensation of abandonment and I thought that nothing could ever replace it. The pain my body felt was also a learning experience. Falling from a swing on the playground and hurting my knee did not feel good. I saw the blood running and I thought to myself that I would just die there. I was three years old. I was such a little human being and I was already obsessed with death. 

I vividly remember the first time I woke up from a nap and realized I was alive. I looked at my hands and I focused on my breathing.  It felt good to be there at that instant, safe and loved in a home where I knew I would always be welcome. I was so young yet so aware. It almost felt like my brain was older than me. 

I then grew up to become an individual who constantly fought to find life and death, to love life, and hate death, or to hate life and want death. The struggles of my past, my present and my future shaped themselves into a constant battle between my hope of finding eternal peace and my will to survive. Many times the will to survive shaped itself into surrender because I was just too scared to end my life. I never considered myself a coward, but trying to end what my caretakers had worked so hard to raise, educate and love was just heartbreaking. 

I never had the capacity to forget about the ones around me, the people loving me and also the ones hating me. If I died, the people who loved me would be devastated.  If I died, the people who hated me would be exhilarated. It was therefore never easy to choose between the pain of living and the pain of dying. I, however, always decided to live. It was never easy. I had a lot to go through, and a lot of pain to endure to be where and who I am today. 

Pain shaped me and it taught me how to live happily. Pain brought me patience, joy, excitement and, most importantly, it brought me wisdom. Like my first day at school, when I desperately cried for my caretaker at the gate, the pain of her departure taught me to swallow my tears and just learn how to become independent. Grow up, become a woman, be tough! Live life, go through terrible situations, survive either victorious or defeated, learn from these terrible moments and become a better person. 

The whole purpose behind pain is that it is there to toughen you up. Pain shows you the real side of things, and it forces you to react to it, either by giving up or by overcoming the obstacles put in your way. Pain goes hand in hand with life. The first cries of a newborn come from his pain to breathe for the first time when his lungs expand and the air enters them, forcing them to open wide. It is mind boggling to come to the conclusion that happiness is only one side of the medal. The other side is always driven by pain. 

Pain is the engine of our lives. It makes our muscles burn, our heart melt, and our head ache; every part of us responds to it no matter how little or big it is; pain tortures. Pain kills. Pain hates. Pain obsesses. Pain harasses. Pain hurts. Pain loves. Pain adores. Pain is faithful. Pain is dangerous. Pain is addictive. Pain is conflicted. Pain lingers. Pain wakes up. Pain disappears. Pain increases. Pain never goes completely away. It is always there, standing by our side, and looming upon us. Pain is our closest friend and our strongest enemy. We cherish it as much as we want to get rid of it. 

Without pain, there would be no struggle, no fear, and no love in this world. We would be surrounded by emptiness. Pain is there to always remind us how precious life is. It is because I love life so much that I also love pain. My pain makes me smile and it makes me cry. My pain needs me as much as I need it. We both survive together, and we grow together. My pain is real and it stays with me every step of the way. My pain is my learning; it is my escape and it is my freedom. I would be nothing without it.

I would definitely love to be a Spirit because I would be immortal and I would still be able to feed from my pain and the pain of others to live. I could write for centuries…. So many stories, and so much time to work on my novels…. That would be the dream. The Manichean in me always searches for salvation, and forgiveness, while battling through good and evil. I’m no pure soul, and I know I’ve sinned many times. I will surely sin more as I grow older. I’m not looking to be forgiven for the mistakes I made, but I want to find a path where my soul will be free from oppression, ignorance, intolerance and hatred. This is where I want to go. Eliminate all the negative and focus on what’s good, grow and learn from it, as long as I can, until maybe one day where I will finally become a Spirit. Being a Spirit does not mean my struggle through good and evil will be over though. No, that battle will simply never end for the Manichean inside me.

 

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