For the past several years I've been thinking about self-harm, suicide, and a whole lot of intermediary steps. Not as an alternative for quietly living out my life, but simply because they fascinate me. They've always been this kind of distant... thing... anomalies that I couldn't communicate with, or even fathom. So, naturally, I was interested in them.
When I was in high school, a girl once gave me a box with a bloody tissue and a razor blade inside. I responded to this in the only way I could have. I called her crazy (maybe to her face, for which I feel terrible), and distanced myself from her. What would drive a person to do that, the question didn't occur to me until years later. I don't know if I ever saw her again, but I vaguely remember something about her moving to Hawaii where she was happy. I've always hoped that was true.
I dismissed her from my mind not long afterward, but random happenings - you know how life is sometimes - would bring me back to that day. She wanted me to know. What she wanted me to know, I couldn't say, but I freaked out and retreated. Cowardice is an interesting thing.
When I sat down to think about it - probably over a few beers, let's be honest, I am me - I couldn't understand. I still don't understand. After last night, I no longer despair: I think I will figure it out, someday.
On the other side of the spectrum from self harm is suicide. The Holy Grail of my search for answers. Why people commit suicide is up there with "Is there a God," for me, as far as things I don't know or understand. I've been searching for the answers to both of these questions for about the same amount of time. How a person could get to a point in their lives where not having a life could seem like a positive alternative had always baffled me. So, naturally, I was interested in it.
Throughout my late teens and early twenties I have sought out a variety of experiences I hoped would expand my understanding of life, the universe, and everything (Including reading Life, The Universe, and Everything, which was somewhat benign in helping me along on my search for Truth), and I have wandered through philosophy, religion, and through some dark, dark thoughts and thought experiments I won't repeat here. And yet, nothing brought me closer to an answer to the question "Why suicide?" until last night.
What happened last night? Find out on Part Two of this post.
Kidding. Heh. Could you imagine if I'd actually done that?
There was nothing special about last night. I played Magic with Chris, cleaned my apartment up a bit, laid on the couch, and watched TV while thinking about life, and the things I wanted to do in the future. All of the things that crossed my mind flashed through, and the logistics of each, and started to build on each other, a burden on my chest that got heavier and heavier the more I thought. I realized that weight, all of those thoughts about the future, had always been there.
I thought it would be nice if everything just kind of went away for a bit.
I thought it would be nice to just be able to be me, the way I am, or how I see myself, and not have to worry about anything.
I thought it would be nice to slip away.
I saw images. Still images of myself, immediately post-mortem, by my own hand, with a peaceful expression on my face, and saw only a glimmer of that peace I had longed for only moments before.
Then it made sense. I drank from the chalice of understanding, ate of the Fruit of Knowledge. . . and did nothing with the thought. Didn't act on it, or even become tempted to. I entertained the thought, and set it free. The thought wasn't mine. It belonged to the universe, so I made sure it felt emboldened to fly away and visit other people that might be searching for it.
Nothing sounded nice. Like in that Billy Joel song, it sounded nice to just forget about life for a while. I never thought that "Nothing" could be romanticized, but in my own mind, at that moment, nothing could be more pleasant.
I know it's not THE answer to the question, but it is AN answer. Like an essay question, "Why Suicide?" doesn't have a single correct answer (just like I imagine "Is there a God?" doesn't have a single correct answer).
So. I just felt the need to share that with you all. Thank you for listening. Until our space and time meet again, I'll say have fun, and good luck.