The more people I know who’ve died, the greater my resolve is to live. I can easily get trapped in the depression of ‘OMG, I’m Never Going To See Them Again,’ but I won’t allow it. Well, maybe for a night or three, but then that’s it. No more indulging in long afternoons of Wishing They Were Here.
Ariana Guarino, aka Goog, died from a stroke a few days ago. She was only 33 years old. She leaves behind a husband and young son. She was far too young and vital to die.
I knew her quite well online for 4 years before eventually meeting her in person, and actually ended up moving to live near her in Cold-Ass Minnesota for a few months in 2012. I traded the bitter cold of Eden Prairie for Salt Lake City in December of 2012, and am still here, writing this post.
The thing about Goog, before I get into death, is that she created a space around her where it was okay to wear paint-smeared pajamas, eat Pop Tarts for dinner, and not comb your hair - and not feel bad about it. She was lost, like we all are, and even more so when her best friend, Tami, died from a heart attack awhile ago, but she never stressed out about it. She had no clue, and was the first to admit it, and around her I didn’t have to pretend that I had a clue either, because I don’t. The difference between Googie and myself, however, is that all of my own lostness and cluelessness resulted in hourly existential crises. OH, GOLLY ANOTHER DAY I’M NOT GETTING AHEAD, I AM NOT EVEN GOING BACKWARDS, I AM STUCK IN AN ENDLESS GROUNDHOG DAY OF PAINT-SMEARED HANDS AND WEARING AN OUTFIT THAT DOESN’T GO TOGETHER.
But Googaliscious, just as much of a self-appointed misfit as I was, not only refused to feel bad about her lack of put-together-ness, she reveled in it. She wore it all on her sleeve, with her endless selfies of bed head and sleepy smiles.
When faced with the stark reality of her death, my body shook and I cried for days, and now I’m done. Stashing my grief into a well-worn shoebox and covering it, I will allow myself to feel pain now and again, but not all the time. I refuse to die inside before I have to. I refuse to lay in bed and stare at the wall and curse the unfairness of it all. The dead would love to have a few days back, so instead of getting whiney, I am going to fucking live and smile and watch Hemlock Grove and eat Licorice and paint today. It is another day for the living, and that is what we do. We live and we go on. But it’s entirely up to us. We can choose to be the walking dead or we can be courageous and choose to live.
I’ve decided to choose life, and to keep choosing it,
no matter who the fuck dies next.