Don’t. Please don’t. I’m not saying that because it should be the obvious response, or because I have been trained to say this when people express suicidal thoughts. I’m just starting there, because it’s a good place to start. Don’t do it.
Do you remember your fifth birthday, that wild year before kindergarten, before you became entangled in the spiral of education-for-the-next-18-years-of-your-life? Do you remember the birthday cake? Those five lucky candles, a whole 25% more than last year! (unless your five year old brain’s math is wrong). Do you remember the way your parents smiled when you blew them out!? It was pure joy – and so what if Jeremy from next door broke your brand new lego set that you just finished! You were five – nothing could touch you.
Do you remember your first kiss? All awkward and jittery and nervous? When you had no idea where hands were supposed to be placed, and you began questioning their necessity to begin with. And if you don’t remember that moment, do you at least remember that night? The run to your phone where you could spill a brand new secret to your friends – anxiously awaiting their responses. Do you remember that absolute-teenage-bliss?
Do you remember that little girl that waved to you in the doctor’s office? With her tight braids and dancing beads. Do you remember that smile she dawned on her face? Remember how you couldn’t stop thinking about her? How she reminded you about the exciting world of motherhood that you’d have one day. If you make it to that one day.
There’s a chance you don’t remember any of it. There’s a chance that demon in your head has repainted all those old memories with a heavy ink, it’s not your fault you can’t see them! He’s covered the joy, the bliss, the hope for the future – for any future. I know what you’re feeling. There’s a chance you can remember it though, if you really try. If you scrape away that dried ink plastering the memories important enough to be laminated.
Scrape away until you’ve rediscovered the way your mother’s hair looks when she finally takes it down from a pony-tail. Can you see your brother’s head shaking when you say something dumb? Or hear the sound of your dad’s voice singing on a Sunday morning? Can you recall the time you thought you’d lost your favorite pair of socks forever, but found them later buried at the bottom of your gym bag. Do you remember that feeling?
Screw the moments, forget the details, those were never important. It’s the feelings – can you remember those feelings? Can you prove to yourself that you know how to feel something other than emptiness? Can you show yourself that this life of ups and downs is worth it? That you are and always will be worth it? Can you hit a low and be thankful to know you still have room to climb? Can you break your bones so you know they will heal?
You don’t need to scrape at your skin to be reminded of your humanity. You don’t need to hold your breath to remember you can breathe. There is a world of people out there who will count those sighs for you, just to show you that you can. You can breathe, I swear, you can breathe, I swear. You can love, I swear, you can love. Damnit, you can get through this.
Just do your best, that’s literally all you can ask of yourself. Who cares what the neighbors think if you nail post-it notes to your garage with smiley-faces and suns and things that show you the warmth you need help remembering? Who cares if your parents disown you for fear of losing the daughter they thought they raised? You won’t care about anything if you’re dead.
You won’t leave us with the image of what you did, what the demons did to you; you’ll leave us with the empty photo-book from your wedding, the empty hallways where your laughter used to ring, the footsteps in a theatre where we’d talk about the smell of the wood. Who will notice the smell of the wood with me?
To the girl who wants to kill herself, I don’t know if you want to get better. But I know you can. I know that you’ve felt, and grown tired of feeling, that you’ve hurt, and grown impatient waiting for your wounds to heal. I hear you. But don’t.
To the girl who wants to kill herself, don’t. I swear there are too many good things in this world that you’ll miss. Hamilton will still be on Broadway, we can get tickets! Stranger Things is making a new season that will be worth waiting for, and Gluten Free Mac-and-Cheese can only get better! There is so much to look forward to. Please, don’t.
Your time is not up.