I got asked this question, and it stumped me. For weeks I’ve been stumped, and for that, I commend the Anon who asked me. I was unsure how to answer; entertaining countless ideas. Going back and forth between career paths, noble callings, different professions… At first I thought, “I‘d be a teacher.” Then, “No… I‘d compose music.” But as I started typing this response, I realized what I would truly do.
I tend to invest more than I should on notional things, and as a result, I often overlook the most simple answers. To be 100% honest, if I found a world that had never known war, or violence, or ancestral hatred like ours… I would fucking conquer it.
Because they would never see it coming.
When birds are born, they fight the egg. They grow inside, gaining strength and genetic knowledge until they’re finally strong enough to break free. They destroy everything that sheltered them and leave it in pieces, to walk away and learn to fly.
What does it feel like to shatter the world? To destroy all you’ve ever known and trust that there is something better on the other side? How completely intoxicating must it be…
We can learn from birds. And I can only imagine that this feeling in my gut, this innate desire to watch the world burn… this is exactly how the bird feels, right before he fights his way out of the egg. Those who wish to truly be born, must first destroy a world.
When I’m all alone at night, I like to overturn the universe.
It’s easier than it sounds. All you need to do is lie on your back and look up at the stars. Let yourself feel the enormity of the universe… the infinite galaxies crushing down on you, riveting you to the spot you rest on. You are nothing but a speck of stardust, held in place by forces even the most eloquent scientists have yet to understand.
Then, when you feel yourself both awed and relaxed, staring up into that far flung infinity of darkness and light, slowly start to convince yourself that the universe is actually below you…
You are overlooking them… a massive force keeps you pressed against the Earth, and that infinite sky is below you. The world is at your back, and you are flying over that abyss of stars, risking falling into them forever.
Do this and you can really feel like everything is below you. Like it would take nothing to send you careening off into the void forever, detached from the Earth and falling down into the depths of the sky and there you are… floating between Earth and nothingness.
And then I get up slowly, and walk back to my room to sleep.
Is that eventually, the bad parts fade and all you’re left with are recollections of the best times. This works with everything. Relationships, school, jobs…
What it works best with, however, is war.
With time, you forget what it felt like to be up for 72 hours and only eat once. You forget the smell of gunpowder clinging to your nose hairs for hours after shooting at other humans. You forget the rage that fills your body when mortars strike your FOB while you’re trying to do laundry. You even start to forget the way it feels to grab a dead friend by the wrists, lifting him into a body bag and loading him onto the helicopter. You forget the bad. It’s a condition of human preservation. Everything gets easier to live with.
Soon all you remember of war are the good times you shared. The most insignificant actions that become hilarious due to the stress. You remember your friends, smiling and laughing and telling funny stories. You remember the quotes you could fill an entire book with from your buddy.
You start to think, “It wasn’t so bad…” and you begin to miss it, knowing that nobody would understand what you meant if you said it out loud. Nobody but those who have been there.
I miss war.