A Dead End

The life cycle is quite an interesting phenomenon. One day, you’re just born, random gender, random name, you’re stuck in a random place, born into a random family. You may not like your name, you may not like your gender, you spend your whole life being told you have the power to change whatever you want but then everyone tries to stop you. You get a job, you build a life, buy a home and that makes you happy, but does it really make you happy? Or are you just told that it’s supposed to make you happy?

You then have kids, and you introduce them to the same cruel cycle you were introduced to. And who even knows if you’re fit to be a parent, nobody taught you how to parent, and now you have to completely cultivate another human being. They have just as complex of a mind as you do, they question life too and they’ll likely go through the same cycle you did. Doing what you’re told is supposed to make you happy, with no direction, no real end goal.

And then, just like that one fateful day comes and that whole cycle ends for you. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of theories on what happens when we die, we’ll never know. Personally, I believe that there’s nothing, just like a sleep without dreams, a sleep you won’t wake up from. All that build-up, all that work to make a spot in society, to make yourself happy, just for it to end as fast as a computer shuts down. And that’s it. Makes it seem pointless, but for some reason, we push on, maybe we’re just trying to find a reason to live, maybe we’re just scared of dying.

Art by Haenuli

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Have you ever thought about death?

I have.

Does it happen fast and painless?

Am I laying in a hospital bed surrounded by my family, basking in all of my successes. Nothing but happiness and satisfaction when I look back. I close my eyes with the itention of sleeping. Slipping deeper into sleep. I lose my grip on life. My lungs exhale with my last breath and Im gone.

Is that a sad way to go?

Or am I climbing Mount Everest? Each breath a fight for survival. Each step a step closer to absolute accomplishment. Maybe I started in a group of 15 and now there are two. My other partner ready to make the summit with me. We leave camp four which sits exactly at 26,000 feet. It is a day of oxygen tanks and sheer pain. The wind is generous but the air still spun with little frozen flakes. Were so close. With only a half an hour longer, my partner says he can’t make it. I push on. I make it. The snow had stopped completely. My lungs shrunk and my body crippled with the cold. Sitting down I rest. Absolute peace. The clouds hung below the mountain cutting me off from the ordinary world. Hours pass by after the excruciating journey, I let the cold take my body. The weather changes and the winds pick up. Without enough strength or carry on I sit there letting the elements take me. In my last minutes, all I can think about is the excruciatingly cold pain that rips at my skin. I close my eyes and my body is forever frozen in time.

That would be cool.

But what happens after death?

Do I instantly begin a new life? Do I get re-circulated back into the possibly ever looping birth cycle? Did I die just to die again and again and again?

Or does my energy and soul dissipate into the world erasing me completely?

These questions are unanswerable so I choose not to fear death but accept that it will happen. All I can do is live before I die.

Credit: Getty Images

R.I.P. Biggie Smalls

March 9th, 1997, 1:15 AM. Christopher George Latore Wallace lies in a hospital bed. He has four bullet wounds in his chest, and he is dead. In the coming hours and for years to follow, Wallace will be mourned by more than just his family and friends. Biggie Smalls, the face of east coast rap, has died, and rap music will never be the same.

Wallace was twenty four years old, and if you asked his mother the day he was born if she thought he was going to be one of the greatest rappers in history, she probably would have said no. A straight-A student at a private school, he later transfered to a state-funded school where Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes were also in attendance, where he began rapping.

Wallace released his first demo in 1992. It gathered almost no attention for him until he was featured in The Source’s Unsigned Hype column. He then was invited onto a mixtape that was reviewed by Sean “Diddy” Combs, who imedeately signed him to Uptown Records.

His first solo album was released in 1994, and it peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200. By the end of the year, he and Tupac Shakur were involved in one of the largest hip-hop feudes of all time .

Two years later, Shakur was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died six days later due to complications from the bullet wounds. Before Shakur was pronounced dead, Wallace had already been blamed by multiple sources. A formal investigation was never conducted, but Wallace denied any relation to the shooting.

In 1997, Wallace released his second album, which ended up at #1 on the Billboard 200. He had gotten in a car accident that shattered his leg during the recording, and had decided “to focus on his ‘peace of mind’. ‘My mom… my son… my daughter… my family… my friends are what matters to me now'”

On March 8th, 1997, Wallace attended the Soul Train Music Awards. He left after the show was over with no idea that in 45 minutes, the world would lose one of its most prominent public figures, him.

R.I.P. Biggie Smalls