This, if you know me, what you are likely to consider “year two” of the rest of my life.
No one knows me quite well enough to know that it is actually year four of when I decided to start living.
That is, I confess, sort of misleading. Maybe.
I read an article yesterday that a friend shared. It was someone who borrowed the ‘coming out’ metaphor for being open about their depression. ‘Well’ I though, ‘okay, is this for me?’
No, I don’t think so. Because coming out of the closet indicates it’s a secret. It’s never been a secret, the opposite, in fact, as I’ve all but begged people to notice, to fix it, to help me fix myself.
So this is year four because I stopped begging. I put down the pen, tucked away the paper. I took the soul-sucking misery and let it take over. I let it make me angry, furious. That anything would try to take me from myself, lock me away, chain me up– Then I stood up. Sort of like when you stand up when you’ve had the breath knocked out of you. I staggered to my feet, when I shouldn’t have been able to. But I wrenched myself up and held on. My fingers bled from how I held myself up and tore the skin away.
Once in a while, the best metaphor I had was that I wrenched my ribcage open. I’d never really been able to understand why someone would get a tattoo of their bones showing through their skin. I’ve considered it now.
I cleaned my desk out about six weeks ago and found a crumpled sheet of paper that I had shoved into the desk drawer in a panic years before. I smoothed it out on my desk. Usually, even if I tuck something away, I have a vague memory of writing it. This one, not so much. And as I read the first line, panic swamped me as I realized what it was. It was a suicide note.
It was unfinished, little consolation. It’s one of at least three. It’s the only one I know of still having, though. One, I know, I carefully shredded into confetti while sitting on the ground sobbing and wishing I could just do it and be done.
I picked up a taste for music that was a little bit harder and louder, and a bit more miserable. I decided I really like my coffee bitter. I ran and ran and ran until I was dripping with sweat and tears. I took every step I could toward fixing myself. No one else could or maybe, they just wouldn’t. Or, somehow in my pride, I hadn’t let them.
It didn’t matter much by then, and it doesn’t much now. This is year four, and I’ve earned every second of it in agony and tears.
There are still days where I regret living. Generally, those are the days I get up anyway.