The Three Distinct Deaths of Dr. Cimmerian
rating: +46+x

The first time I died was one of the best days of my life.

It's not that my life before was so terrible, it wasn't, honestly. But the feeling of shedding all that baggage and expectation is one of the most freeing things I can imagine happening to a person. The day I joined the SCP Foundation was the first day of my life as someone new.

Dr. Cimmerian wouldn't have the same hangups as the old me. He would never spend half a decade with a crush on a friend from high school and not ask her out. He could get over how hopeless the world is and really live for once. He might even be more assertive, less reliant on alcohol to feel like a real person. He'd eat better. Exercise more.

It took a week for that new car smell to wear off. After I died I was still me, just with a different name. The same hangups as always. The same troubles.

And it's then that I started to realize that the problem truly lied with me. Not the world around me. We tie up so much of our selves in an externalized view. We do what we do because of our parents, because of our environment, our names, our identity. If only we weren't attached so closely to our history maybe we'd be better people.

But that kind of self reflection is only useful in creating stumbling blocks. I made my problems something outside of myself so that I would never have to face the truth:

I am a bad person.

And there's no shame in that. Most people are. Most people would rather save themselves than a child in danger. We pretend we're the hero in our heads, we game out a dozen scenarios on how we'd step up when the chips are down.

Sometimes you even surprise yourself and be that hero. But those events are the exceptions to the rule. The truth is that we are who we are, and nothing will change that.

I looked up that girl from high school a while back. I couldn't help myself. Married for over a decade. 6 kids. Genuine smiles in every picture. Is she living a perfect life? No. There's not enough work, not enough money, not enough happiness to go around. But she smiles anyway. And she means it. I should know. That smile is all I can see when I close my eyes.

That's when the self reflection starts to turn back on itself. Imagination takes over. What if I'd spoke up? What if I'd said what I really meant. I cherish the friendship we had, but I could've been more honest with myself and with her. And then what?

We get married? We have a half dozen kids? She smiles?

Maybe. Probably not. And less than she does now.

I know what I am. I am broken, and no amount of love and understanding is going to change that. Do I deserve happiness? Absolutely. But is it worth it at the expense of someone else's? No way. Not if you truly care about them. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to leave them alone.

So I close the Facebook tab and go back to work. I think about my first death, when I left everything behind to become a new man.

I wonder what my second death will be like. After the amnestics. After the reconditioning. After adjusting to being a civilian again.

Will I be whole? Will I still know myself? Will I still hurt the people around me?

When I die a third time, and they're lowering me into the ground, who will care?

It doesn't matter. I've got work to do.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License