Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Suicidal Self

Hello. You seem to be having a fairly quiet day today, which is good news for me. Tuesday, however, was a different story. We went to the therapy and you cried for a while bout how much you wish you could just go away. You didn't want to be here anymore, but you finally admitted that you were too scared of an afterlife to try to kill yourselves. What would be the point, after all, if you just kept on living after death?

Then you got talking about an afterlife in which we could be happy. Your picture was of our aunt and uncle's old beach trailer in San Clemente, on a pebbly, rocky, misty beach. We could live there in harmony with a dog and with rooms and rooms and rooms of books. If the afterlife could be a long stretch of misty beach with fresh fish on the pier, a good black dog in a cozy house, and all the time in the world to read all the books we will never had time to read, we'd be content.

Aaron Freeman wrote a beautiful sketch for NPR a few years ago that begins, "You want a physicist to speak at your funeral." He says,

"And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen."

We both find that comforting.

Still, the other part of me, the one who wants to live and experience and grow, wants to remind you on those terrible days that there are things in life that you and I both love. Here are some pictures to illustrate:

First of all, my wonderful dog,

And my Very Photogenic Boyfriend. I also love my wonderful friends, and would add photogenic pictures of them as well, but I'd be afraid of embarrassing them.

I love the seasons and the mountains and the trees.

There are those times when I'm so ridiculously happy to be alive, like at the 7th Harry Potter book release with these ridiculous glow-in-the-dark Harry Potter-esque glasses.

And, of course, somewhere in California, San Clemente and its pebbly rocky beach and its long misty pier and its fresh fish and its warm cafes really does exist. Which is a comfort in itself.

Anyway, try to remember these things on those bleak days when you want your life to be over. It's hard. It's bad. And it's not going to just go away. You're going to cry, and you're going to hate yourself, and you're going to hate your life. But hold on, and remember that good things exist, and that people love you, and that you love them too.

Playing with my boyfriend's best friend's adorable baby girl for an hour today didn't hurt either.

And, of course, remember how beautiful poetry is, and what a comfort that can be in hard times.

Much love to everyone, and good luck to you all this coming week!


I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.

Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly
in a rowboat on the far side of the lake.

They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.

-Billy Collins

Oh, and ps, happy bisexuality day! Celebrate!!


  1. I love you and you are wonderful. <3

  2. Wow. I needed to hear this just this second. Thanks.

    And just how did you know that my idea of heaven is a dog, a cabin with a nice fire on a cold winter night and a library of books to read - real honest to goodness books that is, as much as I love my Kindle?

  3. Ah, thanks, everyone! I appreciate it more than you know. @ControllerOne, I thought about asking everyone what their own personal heaven would be, but then I forgot! Yours sounds lovely :)

  4. Dear Kylie,

    You can officially add me to the list of people who love and adore you. Because, well...I do.



  5. I will happily add you to that list. And I love and adore you too :)

  6. I want to play this game, too.

    My heaven is similar to yours. A lot actually. Heaven to me would be on the coastal countryside in Eastern Canada (Rimouski on the banks of the St. Lawrence River where it fjords into the Atlantic), or in Tonscana on the Mediterrannean, or in Scotland on the North Sea.

    I would need to be surrounded by expansive gardens (flowers and produce) have water (oceans, lakes, or rivers) on one side and majestic mountains covered by Redwood Forests on the other.

    My house would always smell of fresh-baked bread, or chocolate chip cookies, or savory dishes from across the world.

    In heaven, I would love me - all of me. I would be at home in my own skin and I would only surround myself with people who loved me for who I am.

    I would have dedicated rooms for all the things I love. A library with all the classics and newer, fun-to-read stuff, too. A cavernous salon with a 12,000 piece pipe organ (and a guitar and piano and accordian, too). And a studio with pastels, and paints, and any other creative medium I could think of.

    And a pool filled with butterscotch pudding, just because. Or raspberry Jello, I'm not picky.

    And my dog, Buster, only he wouldn't be slowly dying. He wouldn't have arthritis, or tumors, or be losing all of his coat. He would still be well-aged and patient and loving but he wouldn't be too old to go running on the beach with me, or hiking up the mountatins through the forests. He'd still be able to jump onto my bed at night and he wouldn't think twice about going up and down flights of stairs. He would just continue to be the best friend and companion I have ever had.

    Heaven would allow me to remember the bad and the lessons I've learned but it, but would focus on the good and beautiful in life. Heaven would be love. Not just for me, but from me for everyone, too.

  7. MJ, that sounds one hundred percent perfect. Thanks for sharing. That's beautiful.