On this website we say that we are ‘obsessed with the apocalypse, in all it’s trivial detail’ and I think that’s true. But where does such an obsession start? How does it get it’s claws in someone? How does it turn a sweet- if somewhat strange- child into a paranoid, constantly planning freak?
I first thought of the end when I was six. I was an imaginative child, and I often lay in bed for hours just- thinking of things. On this occasion I stared at the simplified map of the British Isles and a single thought popped into my little head. “What if all the people go away forever?” I wondered, and from there on my mind made logical jumps. It saw the street I lived on crumbled and dirty. It thought about how the people might all go away. And then I woke my parents up by screaming and hiding in their bed.
Unlike my other dark thoughts and nightmares, this one didn’t go away. No matter where I went, it went with me. I talked with my parents about how we’d survive. However, as I was a young child, this was mostly along the lines of ‘You’ll protect me, won’t you, mummy?’ Of course, they said.
As I got older, and we moved house constantly, I started to plan more carefully. I was an only child, my playtimes were long, involved things where I played by myself. My most frequent games were the ones where I explored empty, abandoned worlds, full of things that wanted me dead. In my dreams, I fought against disease and horror swallowing my family and friends. I became withdrawn and even stranger. At some point, playing my solitary games in the dirt, I decided the only thing I wanted was to be able to survive. I mean, sure, I also wanted to be a crime-fighting, singing, shape-shifting tiger who lived in space, but if that option wasn’t available (and it hasn’t happened yet), I wanted to survive however it was we managed to mess up the planet.
And trust me, my certainty that somehow, not too far away, we will manage to fuck up this place beyond repair has never diminished. It may not happen in my lifetime, but I want to be ready in case it does. I will pass my skills to my future children, so my descendants will survive. I am constantly alert. Constantly aware. Working out and studying to make sure I can survive. Surrounding myself with people who have skills I don’t.
I don’t meant to give you the wrong impression- I hardly live in self-imposed exile, never leaving the house for fear of being away from my weapons. I live in a city, I go out, I party. I go on holidays. But no matter where I am my eyes focus on the important things. Potential hiding places. Makeshift weapons. Weak spots. The people I would cripple to give me and mine a 20 second headstart.
So, what did it take to turn me into this? In my case, a combination of overactive imagination and loneliness. I didn’t have friends who could have distracted me from my morbid imaginings. My friends took ideas and ran with them, the same way I did. My parents were second-wave hippies who imparted a belief that ‘normal people’ would destroy the world through ignorance and greed. I don’t think they meant to, but they did.
And the result is this. A girl who sits in her messy front room, writing about the apocalypse. A girl who has her tongue firmly in her cheek, but who genuinely means the advice she gives. A girl whose mind is so overshadowed by the apocalypse that even fashion and beauty tips are coloured by it. And you know what? I wouldn’t have me any other way.
How did your obsession start? Please answer in the comments.