How Enter the Void Kept You From Entering the Void
You'd been told that there's this movie you should watch on psychedlic drugs. You'd been told it was visually stunning, a weird masterpiece of modern cinematography. You'd also been told distinctly not to watch it on drugs, because it will make you feel things. not necessarily good things, either.
You were alone in your apartment, in the living room because you thought tripping alone in your bedroom was just too weird. You grabbed your laptop. You found the movie.
You started playing it.
You stopped it.
You needed to grab a bowl, pack it. A safety blanket of sorts. If you're going to watch this trip of a movie, you want to go prepared. You take a hit.
As the smoke hazes around the laptop screen, swirly transluecent fire magic all your own, you start the movie again.
You were flying high as a kite on LSD. You were tripping your face off. You were alone in your shithole of an apartment. The lights were off. The only sounds were your intermittent pulls from your Newport 100, the hum of the fridge in the kitchen, the wind against the window panes loose in their frames. You were tripping your face off.
You'd always been a sad person. You have been a sad person for as long as you could remember being any kind of person. It was a sadness that stayed with you like a bad marriage.
You started self medicating with drugs and alcohol pretty young. You had done it for so long at this point that you didn't know really how to be without some chemical help.
When Linda calls Oscar a junkie, you felt it like a million voices were telling you the same thing. When Oscar tell himself he's not a junkie as he takes another hit and drifts off into a DMT haze of color and shapes, the parallels are all too clear to your acid-drowned brain.
Seeing the world through Oscar's eyes, experiencing his experiences as he is on drugs as you are on drugs makes the entire experience fucking surreal.
Is it still an uncanny valley if it's you, wearing a character suit?
The Tibetan Book of the Dead, they say, describes the way a person's soul leaves their body when they die, dreaming incredible dreams until they become nightmares. Then they try for reincarnation. You find this part interesting. They are not guaranteed reincarnation. Or are they? Like Oscar, you are not quite following every point.
You still wonder if you have done enough to tip the cosmic karmic scale in your favor. If you died tonight, what happens next? You've stared down the figurative barrel a couple of times before. You've tried to bite the bullet at least twice. You, ironically, are hard to kill, maybe.
Oscar dies. You feel this in a strange way. It is not preachy. He did not die to remark upon the dangers of drugs. He died because of a shitty kid. You know too many shitty kids. You think about the shitty kids who could get you killed.
You take another hit from your bowl. The orange glow of the burning plant is dazzling in the dark room. Smoke fills you in a way that is more than just the high it gives you.
Being Oscar's spirit, or dying dream, or collection of memories both real and false, you wonder if you have your own spirit. If you died right now, would the inner-you leave the outer-you and stare briefly down at it? What memories would be the ones you see?
Oscar sees his parents die, as he saw them die before. He remembers the memories of his sister as they were children, eventually torn apart from each other. He remembers, distinctly, the words they shared. The pact they made. The breaking of the pact. There is so much pain. There is so much pain. There is so much pain.
There are happy memories, though, of rediscovery, of new promises. Of friends and necessary experiences. There is pain here too, though. There is the pain of incompletion. There is the pain in the people Oscar has left behind. That you would leave behind. No, no, this is about Oscar. He has left a sister only newly re-entered to his life. A friend who wanted him to think critically about his safety, about his soul.
You keep drawing parallels to your own life. You see where you have the same things Oscar does, did. You see where you are more fortunate. You see that.
The disembodied inner-Oscar sees things happen, to the people left behind. He sees things break apart, people break apart. He sees hope in new love. He is part of it all, the part he played in it being a kind of tether, maybe.
After either 3 hours or 10 minutes, you don't really know, time is so fucking relative and everything is so fresh but familiar and you are firmly tripping your eyes out of your head, the lights still exploding behind your lids when you blink, feeling like your corneas are left with an after-image like the plasma TV that your dad hit too hard watching the game, the movie is over and you are left with a whole lot to think about.
You go through your bedroom and open the window. There's a small ledge outside of it, big enough to sit on and lean against the house. You get out onto the ledge. It is snowing. Not much, but enough to make this scene so peacefully picturesque that your brain nearly explodes, comparing this with the visual overstimulation you just finished watching.
You've packed a fresh bowl. You have the remaining half pack of your cigarettes. You take a hit of the bowl. Hold it. Light the Newport. Breathe in, then out. You think about void. You think about the place that isn't. You think about how you're all going to get there, but if everyone's walking, you're trying to Usain Bolt yourself across the finish line.
You're in that weird, self-reflective headspace that comes with the territory with drugs like LSD. You think about the pain Oscar relived as an ethereal, out-of-body spirit. You lived it with him, through his perspective, as he became an unwilling spectator to the lives of those around him, a spectator to his own traumas. You saw how he saw the bereavement left as a result of his absence. Bereavement? is that the word? Is that A word? Does it matter?
You wonder if there's any truth in the whole thing. If there's truth in the concept of the out-of-body soul experience. You don't know if you even believe in the concept of 'souls'. But it's enough to have you think about -at least- the pain of what is left incomplete. The pain that you felt seeing Oscar's business left unattended, the strings left untied. You think about strings you might be leaving untied. You think about the pain,.pain that you might not even feel, of having to witness the way that things unravel, in your personal bubble.
You think about the loss you have not experienced. You have nothing to frame it against, not yet anyway. You think about forcing that loss on someone else. You can't.
As much as you hate yourself, you cannot imagine hating someone else so much as to put that pain on them. Enter the void showed you enough of what void could be, maybe - possibly. You don't want to be part of the void. You do not want to push void into someone's life. You think you might be starting to understand that without you, there is some small void left in some small life, maybe a life that isn't even yours.
So you decide not to enter the void. At least any faster than you already are.