On Suicide

I have frequent suicidal thoughts.

I mean where I can vividly picture myself slicing my wrists, hanging from a beam, or jumping in front of a bus. I mean where I look at a knife and think “Hmm… Maybe. Maybe not, but just maybe…” Cutting would probably be the way I would choose to do it…

But anyway, I’m not writing the above for sympathy or sermonizing, but just as a statement. I’m not writing it to discuss technique. It’s just a fact of my life right now that I have periods of extreme bleakness that I deal with in my own way, usually by creating art.

“What stops you?” my therapist asks me.

“The next moment,” I say.

For the next moment is always a new moment, one full of potentiality that would disappear in death. Potential badness, yes, but also potential goodness. Since death stops all potential, all chances to create, why not just hang on one more moment and see what it holds? Why not try to live one more moment before stopping all moments? Why not try to create one more page before calling it quits?

In my novel-in-progress, an uncle is advising his twelve-year-old nephew who has recently come out to him. He wants to be the role model he never had back twenty-three years ago when he was a twelve-year-old self-identified gay boy. His own coming out had some tragic, childhood-scarring consequences. He wants to be the role model he never had while not letting his own fucked-up experience contaminate what should be a normal rite of passage for his nephew; a rite of passage where his nephew should feel a-okay for being born this way.

The uncle doesn’t just want to tell his nephew that it gets better; he wants to make his nephew’s life better. The kind of better that the 1980s didn’t permit.

Jamey Rodemeyer recently called it quits after, ironically, making an “It Gets Better” video; which he probably made for himself as much as for anyone else. I wish I could have replaced Jamey’s present moment with one precious next moment that would have allowed him to hold on, proclaiming: “It IS better!”

“…the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?”
– Nicheren Letter to Niike