Almost exactly one year ago, I attempted to attempt suicide. That is, the pills were touching my lips when my mother barrelled through my bedroom door, with cops out front and a suicide hotline woman on the phone. It’s been hanging over me ever since. About 6 months ago, I wrote a poem about it, in a desperate attempt to get the feelings out of me, just to tear them out and amputate the diseased thing growing inside of me from those emotions. The poem was as follows:
Writing the poem was so cathartic. It hurt so badly to see those feelings on paper exactly mirroring what I was feeling that night. And yet, it felt good to have them ripped out of my body.
At school, I was a part of a club that reviews submissions from other students for our yearly literary publication, Calliope. I brought the poem with me to every meeting, hoping to sprout some courage and read it to the others, to be reviewed for publication. However, I never did, and the deadline passed.
The editor, "C", for the purpose of this blog, was a charismatic senior guy with a great smile and a big personality. He was also a brilliant writer. It was he that frightened me out of sharing my poem at the meetings, and the thought that my poetry could never line up with his. However, sitting in the hallway after school with a friend, C just happend to walk by. With some bizarre surge of recklessness, I jumped up, fished the poem out of my bag, and asked him if he would take a look over it. Instead of scrunching his eyebrows critically, as I thought he would, he smiled at me, almost surprised, thanked me, and actually said he was honored that I’d share something so personal with him. He took the poem, and asked if he could keep it for the night and go over it, even change a couple of things, if I wished. I told him to mark it up all he wanted.
The next morning, he told me he’d read over it with a pen in hand, and yet never made a single mark. Then, he asked, if I wouldn’t mind if he slipped the poem into Calliope, sort of as an editor’s decision. I agreed, and he told me he was glad, because it was a good piece.
This was back in February. Flash forward a few months to last Friday. My two best friends, "M"- my best girlfriend, and "C2"- my best guyfriend, accompanied me to the Calliope Coffeehouse reading and open mic night. After getting there, they strongly encouraged me to read my poem, and, when C came around with a signup sheet and an encouraging smile, I signed up, but only with the agreement from C that he’d let me know before it was my turn, so that I could motion for him to skip over me if I chickened out.
However, when C glanced in my direction and nodded silently, somehow, I stood, with my poem, and approached the podium and the mic stand. C introduced me as "The sweetest girl you’ll ever meet, yet with the hardest last name to pronounce". He referred to me as Kristen P, and a friend in the back of the room remarked loudly that she still couldn’t pronounce it. It made me chuckle, even in my nervous state, and I began by denying the use of the mic, but stating that if I got obnoxiously quiet, that someone should let me know to grab one. The room chuckled a bit, and my friend in the back said she’d be sure to let me know.
Sure enough, she called "louder" halfway through my reading of the first stanza. I obliged, grabbing the mic next to me, and continued. By the final stanza, I was choking out the words. I ended a bit quickly, and C came forward to take the stage again, however, I motioned for him to give me a second. He took a step back with an interested look on his face.
"Hopefully without overstaying my welcome up here, I just wanted to say, eh… This is my first time reading over this poem, effectively since I wrote it 6 months ago, and, in going along with our Calliope theme this year, [the theme was "Clocks"] time has changed the way I wish this poem ended. I just wanted to point out that by 10:01 PM, the mother in the poem did find her daughter".
The room applauded again, and, trembling, I left the stage, tripping over the microphone cord and crashing it over. C hurried over and caught it, and I sat back down at my table. Coffee was finally out, and C2 invited me to get some with him, knowing it would calm my nerves. When I responded that I was relatively sure I couldn’t move, he shrugged and brought me a cup.
I lasted through a single reading after mine, and then uprooted, leaving the room and wandering towards the restroom. I wasn’t depressed, but the emotional energy was so great, I just couldn’t sit still. I was shaking more than I’d ever shaken, and, when I was halfway down the hall, an intermission was announced. I walked past the restrooms, knowing they’d be filled in about 10 seconds, and took of my shoes, sprinting down another hallway, trying to burn off some energy. Then another, until I was certain I was well-hidden in the bowels of my high school Crouching in an indentation of a doorway, I began to cry, sort of. More like taking heaving, dry sobbing breaths than letting tears fall. It only lasted about 15 seconds. I quickly realized I wasn’t all that sad, just a little overwhelmed. I wandered down farther, weaseled my way through a locked grate partitioner into another hall, and, seeing a door, opened it, jammed my shoes in the jamb so that I wouldn’t get locked out, and slid barefoot into a back parking lot. The rain that had attacked the area all day had stopped, and, realizing that the cold puddles on my bare feet was calming, I slipped through the lot. Having finished, I retrieved my shoes, went inside, and back through the grate. Immediately, I saw M running toward me. I ran to her as well, apologizing. I’d suddenly realized that I’d probably given most of the room a bit of a scare. She ignored my apologies and walked me back to the library where the event was held. I entered the door to two things. First, the teacher advisor of Calliope was walking toward me. She declared me "a natural" and smiled when I told her I’d decided to drop my lunch and take her creative writing class the next year. Halfway through our conversation, C2, who is not in any way an affectionate guy, hugged me for the first time. He practically clotheslined me, only keeping me from falling backward with his tight hold. "Dude, that was AMAZING…I’m so proud of you!" In retrospect, I think that was my favorite moment of the night.
The intermission ended, and we sat back down. The next 2 hours were filled with more poetry. One girl came out as a lesbian to her parents in her poetry reading. Her dad actually left the room, but returned a few minutes later and walked out with his daughter and wife in each hand.
At the conclusion of the event, I retrieved my things. Some cosmic magic, however, drew me across the room to C. He grinned and hugged me, telling me he was glad I’d read. I thanked him for his encouragement and his "lovely introduction", which he laughed at (way too loud, as always).
I went home to a dark and empty house. I got halfway through a bowl of Rice Chex before I realized something important. The Voices, in my head, had been the ones who had always encouraged me to commit suicide. They had been for 7 years, since I was 9. But the sound in my head was different, as I sat alone with my cereal in an empty house. Dead silence. No Voices. Just me. That’s when I cried for real. The words "End of an Era" came to mind, and they keep cropping up for me. I feel like it’s over. I’ve finally gotten past the events of last summer, and the Voices seem to have left the building. All that’s left is an agreement I had with them, made last spring. If I haven’t accomplished anything of worth by May 23, 2010, I would have to "Leave". The Voices don’t like referring to suicide for what it is. However, things seem so good right now, I’m almost ready to tear up the written agreement. Perhaps getting past all this is the one thing I’m to accomplish that’s worth something. I don’t know yet.
I do know that after three days, there are still no Voices. And that I’ve put away my bloody scissors and bought myself a shiny razor-blade utility knife, in celebration that I trust myself enough to use it for what it was meant to be used for- NOT for cutting people.
Keep me in your prayers, guys, that things continue to get better. I’ll keep all of you in mine.