This should be the easiest thing to tell you.
But it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to explain.
It’s hard enough to tell someone who loves you that you don’t want to be alive anymore, harder yet to try and explain why.
You ask me why celebrity suicides like Robin Williams, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington affect me so much. All I can do is sit here with my useless flapping head, mouth open, gasping for words like a fish washed up on dry land.
I can’t understand why you can’t understand. So I try to tell you another way. And then another. You tilt your head, interested, but not convinced.
I’m trying to tell you what it feels like to walk into battle, with a straight back and head held high, knowing full well that my weapon is faulty and I ran out of ammo about five fights ago.
What the hell would you do in that situation? Becuase it would make sense to me to take a moment and look around you. At the people that stand beside you on the battle field, the ones that are right there, fighting the same war you’ve found yourself in.
Yeah, ok, I know it’s important to remember the ones who love you. The ones that got you here. The ones that stand behind you, hold you up and repair you. The ones that try and try and try to help. The ones who refuse to let you give up.
But in that moment the only people who really know how you feel are the ones fighting the same battle you are. And if they start to fall down, even though they’re armed to the teeth with the exact same weapons you have, how much do you trust those weapons now?
Not working for you?
Try this one.
We all have things that guide us in this world. People we look up to. Places that make us happy. Things we surround ourselves with that give us strength.
Now imagine that you’ve invested EVERYTHING you have in those things that guide you, only to watch them crumble when the real shit starts. Is it ok to panic yet?
Or people. Do you have faith in people? What if you were fighting an insidious, invisible, terminal illness with the highest success rate of them all? Wouldn’t you want to pick up the weapons that other people have fought and won with? Because I sure as hell would. But what if those weapons you’re holding are only available because the people you looked up to, to guide you, have already lost their battle? How reliable do they feel in your hands feel now?
Would it be ok to pause here, to take a moment to think, if you were me?
Because I need some time.
Time to feel their loss. To acknowledge it, before I take the next step. Because by now you can bet I have learned the hard way, that sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other will not take you to safety. If you felt like your own feet were unreliable, watching your heroes stumble would cause the bravest among us to hesitate.
That’s ok. I’ve stopped running towards it now.
After all, there is no guarantee that the other side is any better than this one.
There is only hope.
So give me a moment, please.
To collect myself. To breathe in, then breathe out.