Phosphenes

 

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Phosphene: noun; a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.

I was so excited to find this word upon my many searches through the internet. I love creating these mysterious lights. I would press fists into my eyes, let them fill with the stars of a universe being created beneath my eyelids. I was mesmerized and comforted. I had the power to create something that I could control, something that I knew would always be there when going back to press fists into my eyes.  Maybe that’s why my eyes always look tired? Is it because the frustration of wanting to live in another place that is not at all my own, ages me to the point of internal-extinction? I do not know how to exist, I only know how to unexist in a body that does not make sense to me. I am a hand too big for its glove, a fish too small for the ocean it was placed in.

I like to think this is the reason I have become an aspiring theologian. I find purpose in a god that I have yet to know, a god that I have no religion for but all the faith in the world stacked upon it. When I pressure my eyes against the fists of frustration and anguish I float in the mysterious world I have created; a god I am, but a god I fail to be. Gods, they create the mind whereas I am so helplessly trapped in it.

In my theology class, we are reading Paul Tillich’s Systematic Theology, a book that is two parts confusing but three parts relatable. He speaks of something called an “Ultimate Concern.” The concept is that we all have things to be concerned but they are shaped in a pyramid, and at the very top there is the Ultimate Concern. That is the place in which God exists, in which our gods live. We create gods out of our own lives and people and thus there is not a single atheist in the world. Now, I have never thought of myself as an atheist, but I have never thought of God as someone in my own waking life. In its own way, God moves. They die and are recreated. And when God dies, we lose our faith and our own existence; hoping only to find it once again.

My professor told us a story in which his wife’s aunt, Winny, made her husband, Harry, her ultimate concern. And when Harry passed away, Winny was institutionalized because she had lost her god. I could never see myself being institutionalized, but I have considered it in the past when I felt so trapped in my body I attempted to cut myself out of it. Physically I am not institutionalized, but mentally I lie in a hospital bed watching my wrists bleed out into buckets, only for it to be put back into my body so the process repeats again. So when I lose the person that means more to me than anything ever could, I find myself in that hospital bed fighting for my sanity while not being able to move a single muscle.

I first experienced this when I flirted with death. I helplessly placed a Menthol Cigarette between my lips. Its minty taste, entwined with the seductive taste and feeling of nicotine masked death so peacefully. I only knew the true damage of its seduction when, in an urge of frustration, pressed the hot ember so hard into my skin I felt it corse through my veins; it hasn’t stopped yet.

These things sprout from the dependence I so violently possess. While I can take care of myself, such as watering plants in a garden, sometimes it’s nice to see a rain shower, and dance in all its glory, knowing that everything is okay. Knowing that it will rain again, but until then I fill my watering can and watch the flowers of everything we held grow into something more than we ever thought they could be. I like feeling your hand in mine as we walk through the garden of memories we planted together. We pick the ones we love, smell the petals and continue wandering aimlessly.

So the next time I find myself watching the Phosphenes behind my eyelids, fists pressed against my eyes till they become sore, I only think of the way we dance in the rain. I only think of where God lives. I only think of you.

 

 

Writing Playlist

Roslyn- Bon Iver

Only the Young Die Good- Saintseneca 

History Book (Acoustic)- Dry the River 

Just and Just As- Penny & Sparrow 

Next to Me- Sleeping At Last

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