Just Before the Dawn


March 3, 2017 by Öykü Us


ME by Elif Öykü Us

It hurts.

How it hurts, depends on the experience. Experiencing life, however, is only possible with pain. Without that pain, life is not real. Without it, life has no meaning, and even if it has a “meaning”, it is not truly connected to you. Everything in life begins and ends with suffering. When I laugh, my stomach tightens and I struggle to breathe, thus I stop laughing. Better yet, I sometimes choose to continue, and similar to an orgasm, the pain reaches to an unbearable height until finally, it blossoms into a flower of unfathomable colors.

It hurts. But it feels good. It burns, but it feels right. Is it wrong? Can it be wrong to feel that almost sacred, yet seemingly forbidden emotion?

We tend to run away from suffering, and by denying it, we deny our own selves. I do not run, however; instead, I welcome it. I want it, I sometimes crave for it. It is how I know I am still here. I must feel pain so that I do not lose myself, or worse, seal myself inside a colorless, empty world. Thus, I drown myself in humor, in sadness, in happiness, in various colors and textures of life; I bury myself in a constant state of stimulation so that I can truly exist. The existence itself is not a constant, but it depends on how much I am experiencing.

Pain is the most intimate feeling one can experience. It only has its name and no other definition. All we do is enwrapped with pain. Even sleeping is not without suffering. Our happiness, our sadness, our excitement, fear; every single experience is tingled with it. Pain is the way of life, and only through it, can I become complete.

What I am, is only defined by what I am currently (03:27 am) feeling. This young body of mine has been used relatively roughly today. I am hungry. My stomach rumbles and I am uncomfortable. My back hurts, and my fingers ache. My hands smell like detergent, thus I fight the urge to gag. I am listening to Bach, the sudden start of his cello suite- No 1. Prelude- makes my chest tingle with a feeling that can only be described as… soaring. My throat feels dry, and I tenuously swallow, however, the tightness does not pass. It instead feels closer, and as the cello rises, I can feel my heartbeat, racing with excitement. Right now (03:35 am), as my hands move on the various, seemingly random letters and numbers on the keyboard, as I struggle to define what I am experiencing, it is beginning. I feel the urge to jump, and my body suddenly feels so restricting that I feel as if I will burst.

Bodies are such limiting things, but in the end, it is my body that feels, is it not?

I am distracted now (03:39 am). My head feels light, yet I cherish it. It is probably because of hunger, but I am reluctant to get up. Fingers sluggish, I try to finish this sentence that I am currently writing (03:42 am), and I do, as expected. Perhaps…

Oh, I have heard this before… but wait. It is enrapturing. Whatever I was supposed to be writing right now (03:44 am) has been forgotten. What I am focusing right now (03:45 am) are simply wordless sounds coming from the speakers of my laptop. I…

It is unbearable. Everything is unbearable; the tightness, the warmth, the feeling of lightheadedness… I cannot stand it anymore, it is too much, thus I simply burst into tears. There are no words for what I feel, the closest would be; sad, but content. Eternal, but fleeting. Happy, yet mourning.

I simply feel alive.

At this point in time (03:50 am) I feel complete. I feel tired of course, but the silent tears splashing down my cheeks are the proof of my existence. Right now (03:53 am), I simply am¸ that is enough for me. Who I am and what am I doing does not matter, but I feel the softness of the chair at my back, my feet touching the cold ground, my hands on the smooth surface of the computer, goosebumps traveling through my body, and these are enough. At this moment (03:56 am), my given name has no meaning, for it is indeed, given to me; it is not something I have taken for myself, by myself. However, this experience is, by all means, mine, and that is what makes me what I really am. Pain is closer to me than my name, especially if is I who decided to inflict it upon myself.

After experiencing that joy, that moment of being alive, I feel strangely empty. I mourn the loss of that incredible moment, for I know that I can never experience it again. Nevertheless, my suffering continues and as I look at the mirror; first at the clock on the wall (04:14 am), then at the tears that mark my cheeks, a small glitter gathers my attention. I look at my hand, the ring on my finger, and the crystals on the ring shimmer with a playful light. I am enraptured. It is, at the moment (04:17 am), the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and everything was forgotten, I gaze at it with awe. I only remember where I am after a dull prickling on my leg interrupts me, and the spell is broken. When I examine the ring now (05:38 am), I see that it has lost its enchantment, and it looks just as how it was before. As the curious fingers of the dawn begin to creep through the curtains of the window, I return to what I was supposed to say and leave this experience behind me. Alas, that special moment of the night has passed away; the piercing daylight rises from its ashes instead, and under its piercing gaze, tears of sleep gather in the corners of my eyes.

I hurt.

I feel.

I cry.

But tears are the most ancient language of the humankind, the only language that we are born knowing. We are not complete without it, and life is only complete with feeling.

There is no name for what I am, but I cry, thus I simply am, and that is more than enough.

Author info: E. Öykü Us, MA Cand., Experimental Social Psychology Program (Baskent Un., Ankara) | email: eoykuus [AT] gmail[.]com

One thought on “Just Before the Dawn

  1. Jeff says:

    Epic. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

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