Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Joy and Suicide

I’m thinking about suicide this morning. In a good way. Because it’s a great day. So it’s great to think about suicide and how far I am from it.

Do you think much about suicide? Death? I do. I always have, ever since I was a little Bunny looking out my window at night over all the sleeping bodies of the neighbourhood. I’ve noticed that people get a bit funny when I talk about it, saying things like ‘that’s a bit morbid isn’t it Bunny Rabbit?’ Or ‘come on Rabbit, let’s talk about something more uplifting.’ But the strange thing is, I always found death extremely uplifting. And that’s not even because I’m a Goth or a Death Metal fan or a Satan Worshipper, though I do find them great. I suppose I always thought - but we’re all going to die, that’s the only thing we know for sure - and when you think of that and work backwards, that makes life really exciting. Don’t you think?

Because then you can really start to have some fun.

I must say, I wake up most mornings and think, ‘Now Bunny, what’s to prevent you from topping yourself today?’ This may sound negative, but for me it’s extremely positive. Because I love life and am a positive bunny. So think to myself, ‘What’s stopping you Bunny?’ And I think, well for starters there’s The Love right next to me, and I don’t even need to go any further. Sometimes I go deeper, just for fun. And I think of all the little things, like:

Because I might get the cryptic crossword out

Because I’m healthy

Because today is Saturday

Because today is Saturday and DA writes the cryptic

Because I will probably get to taste coffee

Because I will very likely taste toast with French sea-salt butter on it

Because I will definitely get to have a shower and feel the water down my back

Because someone could stop me in the street and say ‘She’s the One! She’s the bunny we’ve been looking for all these years!’ And make me a Star and give me an award at a big public ceremony that people will have parties at their houses to watch on television and I’ll get to wear a big mad ball gown...

The list just goes on and on and on.

So by thinking about suicide every day, you get to think about all the little good things in your life.

And you never, ever, take life for granted, which is the most terrible tragedy.

If you ever get a day when you’re thinking about suicide and no matter how many things you think of, nothing feels better than suicide, that’s when you’re in trouble. That has happened to me before. It was not a nice day, well a nice period. But at least you know you need to get some help – that things are not right. Because you’ve been checking for years. You’re not in some coma living your life out being chronically unhappy – it’s sharp, acute - you’re dealing with it head-on. But usually there is something to stop you, even if it’s a tiny thing like you might see a bird. Obviously something must have been there to stop me, because I didn’t go through with it. It might have just been that there was the potential that tomorrow I might find a tiny something that would make me want to stay, a glimmer of hope. But that’s a really, really hard thing to face and I hope none of you are feeling that today, because that is just a truly terrible feeling.

Thinking about suicide and death is important, I think. I find it strange people wouldn’t think about it a lot. Especially when they complain about life. I think, well your life is in your own hands, you know, you can end it if you want to. And I mean it as a positive thing. You can end it, so what’s stopping you? And then they would list all the reasons why they wouldn’t and then you’d think – well if you’ve got all that, then you owe it to those reasons to live as hard as you can, and be happy. There are no rewards for punishing yourself. All there is likely to be at the end is endless black.

By no means am I belittling the poor people who suffer from depression or those who do commit suicide, and the poor people around them, their families and friends - please don’t ever think that. I think that is the saddest thing in the world. Because those poor, poor people couldn’t think of a single tiny thing that would make them happy, not even the potential that something might come along to give them a twinge of joy. And their poor family and friends couldn’t find a way to help them to see the lovely things. That is the worst part of it. Part of me is happy for the person, because they have done what they wanted to do, but it’s just so terrible for us, the family and friends, because we couldn’t help them see the beauty in the world, the love, the wonder. And maybe they were ill or not seeing straight. Maybe they would have come good. And that is just a terrible, terrible waste.

Anyway, regardless of whether we contemplate suicide or not, our life and our death is right there, all the time. I don’t even know why we bother trying to deny or ignore it. It’s the only true, sure thing. (Though is there some part of you that thinks, yeah, but it won’t happen to me. I think somewhere deep down maybe we all think we’ll be the first to live forever, that they will find a potion for eternal life and we will taste it. But, ironically, if we could have the potion, I bet none of us would even want it!) It’s a strange curse cast over our species, this weird hope to escape our inevitable doom.

It’s so strange how we can’t grasp it.

We’re all just animals, plants, microbes. We live, we die. Even Angelina Jolie will, after her big, rich life, and be just like Joe Bloggs down the road, decomposing in the ground. On our way home from the cemetery a few weeks ago, Dad said:

“We’re all going to die from some sort of sickness.”

I said, “But what about a fly on the windscreen? He wasn’t sick.”

Dad pondered this and then said,

“Well he will have been very sick for one second, and then died.”

I suppose that’s true. I’m more afraid of getting sick than of dying. Or of being bored.
I think of the moth. There was this great poem we read in Year 10 by Don Marquis – a conversation with a moth. He says:

it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while

I want to go like an insect – SMASH – windscreen – lightbulb – PAF.

With joy.  And not until I’m really, really old.

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