I think we need to remove the stigma attached to suicidal thoughts; because everyone I’ve ever known has had them. I think about suicide on a weekly basis. Not how I would personally do it, detailed plan descriptions or sketched out blueprints; but in a detached, philosophical, dare I say factual way. Death is easy. Dying isn’t but death is. Death is complete cessation; savasana. Life is hard; it’s messy, brilliant and devastating. Glorious, horrific, ridiculous, ecstatic, absurd. There’s a reason we call living survival; this shit is not a cakewalk.
We are given life, it’s a gift; but we didn’t request it. Remember how it felt not getting what you asked for on Christmas when you were seven years old? Boring back to school clothes where a bike should have been. Socks instead of legos. It can be argued that love is what makes life worth the pain; it all balances out. But does it? For everyone? Some of the time? There are endless variations of love, but most people think of the romantic kind first. And falling in love feels like Christmas; the year you actually do find the coveted glossy bike under the tree.
I always said I’d get married if I met 3 couples who seemed to still be deeply, passionately in love after a decade or longer together. I found one. My old neighbors were a couple in their 40s, not wealthy or glamorously hot. They had kids, money issues and struggled; but every single day they kissed goodbye with fire. Sweetly murmuring or laughing with each other before he left for work; in their own intimate universe of two. That’s it. In all of my years traipsing through life; I’ve seen happy enough couples, content couples, couples who tolerate each other. But they were the only ones who were clearly friends, companions, partners and lovers.
What usually happens is that bright, shiny, perfect, how did I ever get so lucky to have this? bike; it’s not as fun any more. It rusts, it fades, it breaks. In a few years it sits unseen and forgotten in a dusty corner of the garage. Eyes that once alighted from the sight of it now slide away, awash in avoidance. Maybe a pang of guilt or nostalgia pulses, periodically, but not often. Even the thing that’s supposed to make life bearable according to greats like Pablo Neruda and Rumi, love, is now etched with the exhaustion of existence. That’s pretty damn dark.
But that’s the point. It’s ok to feel dark. Life is not meant to be easy. Contemplating death is a side effect of surviving. It’s a normal, necessary symptom of navigating cold, stark, fucked up, bloody reality sometimes. We need to be able to sit around and share our shadows. Share our fears and our secrets; commiserate about what drives us to continue on during even the most difficult days. Life is for living; for experiencing everything; crushing suffering to euphoric bliss and the thousand shades of nuance between. There is strength and wisdom to be gleaned from parallel pain. We just need to have the courage to share it.