this is in response to a friends blog post, titled “self help” a person i silently & greatly admire from afar.
in ten days from valentines, it will be the “anniversary” of when my childhood friend, took his own life. i was 17.
he lived down the street from where I lived. the morning after I went to school, (late, as usual) walked towards the class I was failing. noticing something very strange about the air. when i walked into class, everyone sort of just welcomed me, with fake smiles. depleted hearts.
sobering reality kicked in, and the world seemed off. i didn’t pay much attention to it, i didn’t pay much attention to anything that seemed off. cause, fuck the world, and fuck you. i ignored it (per usual) & continued to be my rebellious, teen self. one of my friends in class – mentioned what happened to george “was crazy” and that he “couldn’t believe it”
i remember so photographically – that one instance. in fact i remember everything so vividly, that thinking about it haunts me, still. if i ever get good at painting, I’m going to paint this very moment, kids standing in class, some sitting on desks, centered around me, almost like a centrifugal mass, where i was the unknowing sun, and my classmates were bastions (planets) of information- and name it “he doesn’t know what’s going to hit him”
when i mustered up enough curiosity,
i asked which george, and what had happened?
everybody figured my perpetual disregard of mere small talk was of my coping mechanism to deal with my friends death, rather than regular happenstance.
read that again. my classmates thought me ignoring them, was my coping mechanism, and not my regular go-to reaction in life.
“george got into an accident.”
-“oh like skateboarding?”
very nervously. while the class looked on, my friend said
“no, man. he’s ..uh. he shot himself.
walking into next class. i felt as if the grim reaper was following me. the day got dark. metaphorically, and i felt as if there was a giant cloud fucking making its way over me. permanently. there was no other way to explain it. i got into class and slowly, felt tears fall off my face as the lecture went on. they felt hot. too hot. lava dripping. like tears i’ve cried before. the night before. and the night before that. but i never cry in public. that’s something i do at home, comfortable. door closed, locked, pillows and blankets underneath the door so nobody can hear me (or rather, i thought, that i don’t disturb anybody with my cries for help)
what i did was curl up into a ball and cry. i cried and cried and they had to call my mom. i was embarrassed(!) i demonstrated such weakness. everybody understood, though. nobody remembered, i hope. my mom came and i walked as if i had lost a limb. tears falling off my face.
mom asked “why am i picking you up?”
starting to cry.
she asked why.
over and over. it got frantic.
i couldn’t talk. it’s as if the reaper who followed me cut out my tongue. fed it to wolves. to demons, that i felt were following me for quite some time.
after letting pressure build up, i manifestly let out a guttural cry, held her, and said “my friend mom. my friend! he’s gone”
i cried. and i threw up. i said many more things, but i’ll spare you for the sake of how explicit i was.
i guess, perhaps, looking back, i felt like i wanted to take my own life. (not perhaps, but decidedly, did want to) i was almost upset at george for doing it first. it sounds weird, disingenuous, dispassionate towards my friendship with him. but i felt, perhaps taking my own life would have spared others from doing the same.
“would you jump off a bridge if your friend did?”
in this case, no. i just wish i had jumped off first.
felt as if he beat me to the punch. for years i delved, not in self harm. but a weird form of masochistic self torture. not in the “traditional” (is that even the correct word? it sounds awful as hell) sense (wrists, cutting, eating disorders, etc) i trained my body vigorously. too much. i would do sit-ups and pushups until i couldn’t move. i would punch myself in the stomach, and face, to “build” myself up. id break my wrists from punching things. i’d pee blood regularly. id have bruises the size of grapefruit, that i strategically covered with baggy clothing, my long hair, and other tools of my rebellious nature. the list, unfortunately goes on.
that was my twisted version of strength. me being strong was being able to survive my own version of hell that i felt the world created for me. i wanted to show myself (and myself only) that i was stronger, than the demons that followed me.
i never went to a therapist. never told a friend. never mentioned anything. ever. how could i?
in the incoming year or so, i heard my mother crying. crying like i’ve never seen her cry. crying like how she saw me cry. i go into the room, apathetic. “strong”- like, (stoic, unperturbed, with a calm demeanor) and asked her “what’s wrong?” she choked up the words, “se murió, mi papá está muerto!”
i’ve never seen so much pain in someone’s eyes. so openly vulnerable. kneeling. with the carpet visibly showing that she’d probably been crying for hours.
i turned to her and said, “well, … life.” (i regret that).
and walked away.
i never shed a single tear. in fact, i still haven’t regarding my abuelitos death.
years later my cousin of similar age as me (with a child) died of breast cancer, that eventually took out her lung. she fought a tough, strenuous, long battle. i still haven’t reacted to that, as i probably should- as i feel a pit in my stomach. nobody ever asked me to react. in fact most people probably react the same as my classmates did when they thought my silence was my overt, and obvious pathway to coping. death is a very personal thing. and as poetic as i am, i can’t make any particular component about death as shakespearean as most would want it to be life.
i don’t regret anything i did to myself. my only regret was not seeking help when i needed it. and creating my own version of strength. my regret is not going to my kneeling mother and giving her a hug that breathed life back into her. (she never was quite the same.)
exclaiming to her it would be okay, and that I’m here for her. my only regret is not
doing the same for myself. help yourself. please
again thanks for reading, and the poems you guys wait for will be back on schedule.