“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
— Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Dear Fellow Warrior,
The above quote was a quote I shared in this poem I wrote earlier this year: my first public “Suicide Note.”
Early this year, I listened to a few spoken word poems on YouTube, mainly from Button Poetry Channel, and I wanted to write my own. I am in the process of writing a second Suicide Note, perhaps a little sooner than I had hoped. Third time is the charm they say… I guess I am nearing 40 and I predicted that I would not live past 40, so I guess this is coming about naturally… I sometimes have been right about my premonitions…
I recall in other posts, either on this blog or other social media spaces, writing that there is great nobility in staying alive, when the pain and suffering is a constant in your life. And how society shames struggle and only rewards the struggles when we have overcome it, or when we have approached “success.” We always hear the quotes of how failure is a part of the game, and keep going, but it only seems to matter from those who have approached a significant level of “success” as it relates to social capital, human capital, and economic and financial capital…. Capital.
I will write separately about “success” and what this can mean in another post.
I read that poem again, before writing my second “Suicide Note” poem. I read it out loud. It’s always empowering to read your own poetry, your own words out loud, to raise your voice, even when no one is there to listen.
We stay alive so we can be there when things get better.
A line from the Handmaid’s Tale.
I am not good at remembering brilliant lines from my favorite tv shows or movies, I have a terrible memory, especially these days, but that line I have now quoted a few times in my posts.
Every day, the most important choice I have to make is not about what attitude I will have that day (positive or negative), what I will eat, what I will wear, what I will do, what my priority tasks will be, etc. etc. etc.
Every day, I wake up in the morning and make “the choice” on whether I will stay alive.
On whether I will fight for my survival…or surrender and let go.
This fight has really been the only constant in my life.
I have said it before too…
That I survive and get through the day, and make the choice to not allow the voices to tell me to raise the white flag and swallow me up…. and this decision is not just for myself…
Maybe that’s part of the conundrum..
I wrote this on my Facebook post in this new year…while riding the DC metro train…
“It is interesting,…because whenever I would contemplate jumping in front of a metro, I would stop because I didn’t want to inconvenience people trying to get home…lol…. it’s always about others… what saves our lives.. not about ourselves… but then we are called selfish for our ideations that we have so little control over at times… and chastised for trying to end our life… scrutinized and ostracized for telling the world our truth… we save the other from pain… but we are not saved from ours… we stay resilient nonetheless…”
It isn’t really a choice all the time. Having to make the choice of life or death is itself the illness.
This is truly the challenge in understanding this disease, sadly. It’s that difficult, it’s that tragic and sad, it’s that uncomfortable and painful, and stigmatizing to talk about… It’s sad that most people cannot even say this word. It is that Taboo.
I still believe that there is great bravery, courage, and strength in the choice we make in fighting the illness, when we have the ability to make that choice. At the moments when it isn’t too late… to Prevent.
I have also written about how most of us will never get the credit for our fight to stay alive. We will never be honored for it, given the accolades, the acknowledgement, the appreciation for sticking around, from our loved ones, the people that matter in our lives… even if we remain in the fight mostly for them. As implied by the lines at the end of that poem, we stay alive so that they don’t feel the pain and suffering of our absence…
There is nobility in staying alive, dear fellow warrior...
We should stay alive first and foremost for ourselves, because of the possibility of things getting better, with the recognition of the uncertainty that it may not.
We should stay alive to be present for those who do love us, even if we don’t see or feel the love or get the level we need from them to understand that it is in fact there.
We should stay alive, because our stories of survival will be an important part of the equation to help others survive.
And In the meantime, we can work on trying to be better for ourselves, to ourselves, and keep working on ways to be there better for those who really need the support in our lives.
One way of self-help that I have demonstrated and proposed through this blog is “Bibliotheraphy.” Dr. David R. Burns talks about this method in the classic CBT book “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.” Essentially it’s about reading on mental health and all that’s relevant. We have to practice the tools and methods, apply it in our daily lives as well, which is the hard part, but reading and developing a self-awareness has been a critical part of my journey of survival for as long as I can remember. I’d like to share a recent piece I read about what happens to our brains that experience ongoing suicidal ideations. Some of what is shared in this piece I have written elsewhere or had planned to write. I particularly appreciate the note on being able to say the word “suicide”. You can read the piece HERE.
Please stay with me, please fight with me, dear warrior. I need you. I know you cannot hear me right now and you cannot see these words. But I will write and say them anyway in case some day we are about to find each other and connect, you and I. I know you are out there. In pain. I can feel you. I can sense your courage in your fight, which is helping me stay alive.
I’ll find you Inshallah. We will come together with our clentched fists, and fight the inward revolution together… make the change, change our stars, rewrite our stories, and transform our lives for the better once and for all…and ultimately for the outward revolution.
Thank you for reading and giving my voice a chance. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your nobility in staying alive.
Peace, Warmth, Solidarity, and Blessings,
“She wasn’t looking for a Knight. She was looking for the Sword.” – Atticus