There is always this uncertainty on whether the world is as confusing to others as it is to yourself. Take my sister, for example. She has an education and a job; she lives with her boyfriend; she has a car – it’s insured; she has friends all over the world and finds time to visit them. Heck, she’s even a good cook. If I didn’t know any better, I’d figure she had the world locked down. Fortunately, I know she’s a doubting mess like myself from time to time, questioning all things from what to eat to when to turn a relationship into a family to whether or not to go to the bathroom before the movie starts. And yet one’s own confusion feels much deeper rooted than everyone else’s. I suppose it’s just the nature of such an intimate relationship as the one you have with yourself. You can’t really leave for a day, can you? You can be mindless, certainly, but that will only haunt you and add to your confusion. Or you can try to occupy your thoughts with new things every day, but that will only create more things capable of causing confusion. You can sleep, but then you have nightmares, and what does that tell you about yourself, you ask yourself. No, there really isn’t any relationship in your life like the one with yourself. The most blissful tragedy happens in the instant when you manage to get set on a target and the confusion subsides – only for you to realize that the goal is utterly unattainable. It is almost as if your mind has lured you into a trap, and you, confused being, walked straight to it, happily blindfolded. It’s bliss like love. Isn’t love always tragedy? You put your life in someone else’s hands, and vice versa, and you know it will end in a breakup, or a death, or two deaths, which is at the same time the most romantic and most tragic way to go. How many love letters have been written on that premise? How many plays, how many songs? Most famously, of course, is Romeo and Juliet, taking their love for each other (or their love for love) to the extreme, where a life without the other doesn’t matter, and one’s own death is the only natural outcome of the other’s. Also famous is the dramatic death wish in The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, where the love felt is so strong that being killed in collision becomes a preferable way to die, presuming you take your lover with you. It’s such a frighteningly egoistic tendency for the romantics of this world to aestheticize death just because life doesn’t live up to one’s expectations. And I’m a multiple offender myself. And I think it goes back to the confusing nature of the world for the person living in it. There is so little we are able to control: What we eat, drink and how we set our hair – and we only partly control those things. We don’t control what family or society we are born into. Even in a democratic country, we control next to nothing with our vote or voice. It rarely feels as if we control who we fall in love with, and even less so, who of all those people we can get to fall in love with our loveable selves. And we certainly don’t control what happens after we die, so what if we could control our own death? And not only how it would unfold, but also with whom. “To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die,” sings Morrissey on the aforementioned song, and continues later “To die by your side, well the pleasure, the privilege is mine.” It’s no longer just a way out, forced on the couple by outside-circumstances as we see in Romeo and Juliet. In the 20th century, dying has become such a distant fear that we, rather than choose it as a last resort when our lover has left us, create a narrative for our love affair centered around the wish to die beautifully. And what’s more beautiful than dying a mutual death in your lover’s arms? And what’s a greater showing of control than being able to determine your own death? “The pleasure, the privilege is mine.” If that’s not a romanticization of death, I don’t know what is. And I nod, and I look at you. And I nod, and I kill you too. And it’s all so strangely alluring, isn’t it?
Thus with a kiss I die.