I think one of the harder things about life (for me) is trying to understand the world around me.
I know that mankind is utterly and irrevocably inter-connected. I know that to be human is to, in ways big or small, associate with other humans.
Even when I was at my most anti-social, I was still tied to others. I had family who cared, even when I did my best to push them all away and ignore them. I had friends who cared, no matter how long I had been away.
Whether we want to or not, we touch the lives of those around us. Every interaction we make, whether big or small, makes some sort of impression. Even if we don't notice it. Even if we don't directly care. Those moments aren't pointless or without worth. No matter how hard we try to be truly alone, no matter how despirately we may think we need it, we're doomed to some level of connectivity from day one. From the moment you're pushed screaming and angry into this crazy life.
Some lucky people are born with all of things they need to live a happy, healthy life… even if they don't know or appreciate it.
Others, like me, like most of us, weren't so lucky.
One such person was a girl named Carleen Nelson. She was born with a genetic disorder called Treacher Collins Syndrome, and had many surgeries throughout her childhood. Later in life, she developed many problems, including depression and obsessive compuslive disorder. She was a self-injurer.
In the last few years, around her various suicide attempts, she was in a relationship with a wonderful girl named Sarah. They were inseperable. Soulmates. Lovers. Best friends.
On June 30th, 2008, after pushing away and shutting out everyone who she knew and cared about, Carleen Nelson finally succeeded in taking her own life.
There are three things about this that keep running through my mind:
- What will happen to Sarah?
- It is impossible to leave this life without hurting someone
- We are never as alone as we might think
I have been suicidal before. I know how it feels to suffer enough that you feel your only way to escape is to kill yourself.
It's so easy to be wrapped up in your own misery to forget that there are other people to consider.
We are individuals. That's true enough. But we forget that even as individuals, we're still part of a community, no matter how involved we are with it. No matter how involved it is with us. We're all small pieces of a bigger whole, and we can no more help this than we can help being born.
When someone kills themselves, they harm those who surrounded them. They start a ripple effect that carries farther, I think, than most people would expect.
When Carleen killed herself, she wasn't thinking about me. She certainly wasn't thinking about my boyfriend. She wasn't thinking about Nexy, probably not about Kidna. She almost certainly thought of Sarah. She definitely thought of her mother. Beyond that? I don't know. I DO know that she affected far more people than she expected.
It just goes to prove how glued we are to one another. We're a great mesh of humanity that threatens to consume us even as it wraps us and envelops us in the comfort of familiarity.
I wish I could understand it. I wish I could appreciate it. I wish I knew what to do or say to make this great mesh happy without losing myself to it.
That's the trouble. It's hard to be a true individual and stay a part of the community. It's hard to be a part of that community and be an individual.
I just wish I could make sense of it. I wish I could find a happy medium. I wish I could see more of the big picture and stay away from the baffling small picture that is me. This tiny little speck that, for good or ill, is struggling to make it to the finish line as slowly as possible.
How many people have I hurt by being hurt? How many people do I truly affect when I make a decision? How do I include others when I'm so terrified of others?
Life is so incredibly overwhelming. Every time I come to this realization, I always think of the same thing:
Can the sun see itself? Does the sun fathom what it is, or is it just a ball of burning gas?