I guess the only thing good about coming across old suicide notes is still being alive to read them. It’s painful to relive the sentiments expressed to people, especially if the emotions were never resolved.
I am nothing if not methodical, as evidenced in my painstakingly thorough suicide note catalog. There was the note I wrote to my parents, for when they found out. There were the notes to my (two most significant) exes, whom I perceived as having “ruined my life.” I say note(s) because there most certainly was not just one. No, I really had a mouthful to vomit on the two of them. There was even the note to my former boss; not so much a suicide note, perhaps, as a crafty letter of resignation. This was in the batch of outbox letters: sent, never to be taken back. What’s done is done, what’s said is said, what’s humiliating will forever more be. The embarrassment’s enough to shame a person into death-wishes all over again.
Two years later there were more notes written, stamped, addressed ... but never sent. Thank GOD. Because the only thing worse than having a mental breakdown is living through it to face the humiliation of all you’ve said and done. Truly. The second round of letters were reserved for ex-friends who had let me down and failed to be there for me, and even former colleagues whom I felt had a hand in destroying my career and my self-worth. The picture becoming clearer and clearer here: anyone and everyone who I could blame for the state my life was in (almost) got a piece of my mind. If I was going to die, I wanted people to feel bad about it.
There’s a saying that, “90% of the solution lies in accurately defining the problem,” and the clarity that coincides with composing one’s final words brings the tree out of the forest, so to speak. What better way to really get down to the nitty gritty of what’s bothering you than to lay it all out with no one to talk back to you, defend their actions, or invalidate your feelings?
In my final summation of things, I glimpse a person who pins responsibility on every single person around her ... but not herself. Countless hours have burnt up in fury at the wrongs that have been done to me, while the worst have been done to myself. “We may be the product of our past, but we are not victims of the past unless we choose to be.” I am the one who conceded that others’ appraisal of my worth would have ultimate bearing on my destiny. For all the hurt I may have wished to inflict with the anger that consumed me, the only life I destroyed was my own.
“Holding onto resentments is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
No truer words were ever spoken.
My former profession placed a lot of emphasis on the symbolic acts of closure: burning items that tie us to the past, or releasing balloons into the air with our feelings written inside. My personal method is the shredder, because I latch onto documentation. There’s some sort of perverse gratification to be found in re-reading old love letters, old hate letters, old crazy letters. Up until two days ago, I was still hanging onto a few, perhaps in case I was to regress and decide to actually send them.
The fear of someone else coming across the psychotipapers got the better of me, and I finally took action to destroy the evidence of my lunacy. It was hard at first, because of the catharsis of purging all those emotions once again. The hurt and betrayal remains locked inside, after all, never expressed to these intended targets. What if I want to relive all this again, I thought. Even more difficult to demolish were the last “I would die if I lost you” letters from my first love (more accurately described as my first hate). Possibly because it was the only remaining proof that I once mattered to someone?
In the end that little machine ate the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then I tied a few of those paper shreds to a shoestring and invented my cat’s new favorite toy; from pain came someone’s joy, at least.
Letting go is an act of surrender; where something in us clings to the past, holding on at all costs, we employ the discipline required to give it up ... a contradiction of sorts. The harder it is to let go of, the more we obviously need to in order to move on. And it’s long past time for me to move on. Like they say: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
Reading over the admissions in this post, it remains difficult for me to discern if it’s extraordinarily ill or extraordinarily human.
This is such a cool post. I vote for "extraordinarily human." I'm glad you destroyed those things--I'm also a believer in those symbolic acts of closure, in a way telling the world and yourself that those feelings are past.ReplyDelete
I've written and sent many many things that I wish I hadn't, but it seems most people don't keep those things, and anyhow they interpret them through their own self-absorbed views of the world (meaning they forget what you wrote, thank goodness). Back in the day when I imagined I might be mainstream enough to hold political office, I always thought my "paper trail" would be my doom. Now I know it's completely irrelevant--whew!
THIS is what the world needs. More raw, more real, more cut the bullshit.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure if you realize the sheer impact that simply putting yourself out there in this way can have-- on others, on yourself, on the world.
But then again, I think you do realize it: Your mission is fucking right on. (Excuse the "fuck.") Never heard more truth.
Would you be ok with me mentioning you in an upcoming post? This would fit in with it really well.
Thanks for being who you are. Know that this, what you're writing here, is a gift to the world. We're glad you're here.
Colleen-that's very true about people interpreting thru their own skewed lens. I used to pour out my feelings in these long notes to one of my exes; NEVER, ever did it result in understanding, or him "getting it." For a long time I stopped writing altogether because I felt like I was still powerless. I would support you for office, btw;)ReplyDelete
Therese-I really appreciate that; I'm glad it meant something to you, and yes it's ok:)
Sometimes I just can't stand living in a world where there's no truth. I wonder how many fewer people would succumb to despair if there were a little more honesty about the human experience.
It's not people that are crazy; it's life.
Thanks; I'll let you know beforehand. Not sure exactly when it will be.ReplyDelete