“Ice Field Maneuvers” by Kathy O’Meara, 16 x 20, acrylic on paper.
When you are a junkie, people will want to ask, how do you live like this?
This question always surprises me because I assume the answer is obvious—do nothing and don’t die.
When your dog, curled up in the crescent of your body, pisses the bed at 2 in the morning, do not get up to change the sheets. Lean into the warmth. Fall back asleep before the dampness turns cold.
When you find the path of least resistance, give in. Do not resist.
When your phone bill comes, don’t pay it. When your phone gets shut off, decide to take a much needed break from technology. And people.
When you stop showing up for work, learn ways to make quick cash. Remember—there is always money in gold and guns.
When there is no more money, and nothing to pawn, think of all the things you could do that you will surely regret. Choose the one that will haunt you the least.
When you feel the familiar pull of shame dissolving the earth beneath your feet, go limp. Allow its riptide to carry you.
When there is no one and nowhere, when the nothingness humming in your chest finds a rhythm, the faint beating growing thunderous in its empty chamber, and you fear that if you listen long enough, the nothing will start to sound like something, take an Adderall. Or an Oxy. Or a Valium. Swallow it dry. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
And don’t die.
Kathryn McLaughlin lives in South Florida with her dog Yeti.