What is coping? Coping implies a lot of things, like getting through the day and dealing with hardship. Everyone copes one way or another, we all have our weird little things we do to calm ourselves down when times are tough. On the whole, though, I think coping means being okay with being human.
I wrote a little about my idea of what it means to cope with this body and this existence here, where basically I realize all my small obsessions and secrets are what keeps me going.
But what about being human?
I was on facebook late one night and decided to ask some other people about dealing with existence. Coping is a part of being human, I think. I feel most human very late at night. I want to know other people cope. I messaged a few people who happened to be online and asked them how they feel about being human.
How do you feel about being human?
What are the best/worst things about being human?
Do you ever try to forget you’re human and if so what do you do? What do you do to fully feel human?
I enjoy being a human to tell you the truth
Or being alive I should say
Best things about being human is interacting with others
Being in love
Worst things is trying to get other humans to recognize my right to exist
I never try to forget feel like the past me’s my ancestors overcome too much for me to have that kind of privilege
my parents is immigrants don’t really have the opportunity to spend time numbing myself
I’m not sure what it means to fully feel human
I touch base with the people in the neighborhood I grew up in
that makes me feel most comfortable within myself
whatever that means
These are hard questions. I think one difference between being human and not is having a body. I don’t really like having a body, which I think is why I’m happier in dreams. Even though a lot of the same things are happening in my dreams as in real life, I’m happier in the dream version, I don’t know why…The only good thing about having a body is that I can read books, and have orgasms. I feel like in my yoga practice ironically i can forget I have a body even though it is through the practice of being really intensely focused on the body, I guess because it is meditational you forget the problems of the body. Or maybe the problems are associated with being too much in the mind, thinking, and yoga helps you forget that split, I don’t know if that makes you more human or more spirit creature…
It’s weird to me. Sometimes I feel like everything is so fake and constructed – nothing matters. But then I think, that we are able to design such complex things… Even if they’re meaningless, isn’t that wonderful? Does it matter if it’s true or not? Isn’t the beauty that we are able to question it at all? The best thing about being human.. I don’t know. The one thing that made me live in the moment is my cat. Her life seems so much purer than mine and like I said, interactions with her force me to appreciate what’s happening NOW, but then I take care of her. And I don’t know how much freedom of thought or expression I would have if we didn’t have structure. So maybe the best and worst thing are the same. I don’t ever forget I’m human. Happiness for me is often in sensory experiences though. Isolation tanks. Long walks. Coffee.
I feel like being human is both the greatest miracle and greatest mistake at the same time. I am in constant awe of the fact that people use their brains to create these insane inventions all over the world, about the fact that I can use my body to create more versions of me, that we created speech and language and that our brains comprehend the symbols we have created. It’s insane. I feel like we’re a miracle, something that has managed to be created/to have evolved over centuries. We’re something that manages to feel and enjoy and hurt. It’s so crazy. I feel like being human is also a mistake because it’s so hard to be alive sometimes. The simple fact that humans are in pain and constantly seeking happiness is so sad. It feels overwhelming to be put on this earth just to eventually suffer.
Best things about being human are our capacity for empathy, and the fact that we can be in love and use our minds for amazing things. I love that about being human. Worst things are definitely the fact that we’re so fucking violent. We have this huge tendency to hurt other people for these reasons we decide are important when in reality, life is so short and so sad much of the time that it feels unnecessary for us to spend our time trying to harm as many people as possible. The worst thing about being human is knowing how capable of this violence we all are, and still getting up every day and living.
I never try to forget I’m human, mostly because I don’t want to be anything else. I try to feel less sometimes. I try to sleep more so I don’t have to be around other humans. But mostly, I just accept my state of existence. What makes me feel the most human is when I cry, or when I experience art, or when I create something. Those things prove to me that existence isn’t so sad, isn’t so bad, isn’t just a long stretch of depression ending in death. And I need that, I think we all do.
Senay Kenfe is an artist from Long Beach contributing to the African diaspora. Carrie Hunter runs the chapbook press ypolita, and has two books out with Black Radish Books. Katya Delaney is a writer who works in all mediums. Monica Prince is a performance poet living and working in Denver, CO with her pug, Otis.
Stay tuned for more thoughts on being human for #7daysofcoping from some other wonderful humans and maybe I’ll answer the questions about being human.