Much like the rest of the country, I recently watched the tragic story of Tyler Clementi unfold. His final act made me think of the times that I had been so consumed by depression that I wanted to disappear. I’ve alluded to it before in my blogs, but I’ll say it here because it isn’t something I need to be ashamed of. At two separate times in my life, I wanted to die. In high school, I had it planned. Even after my father, a homicide detective, explained to me what death from carbon monoxide poisoning looked like, I maintained my plan. I didn’t care that I would look ugly when I was found. Nothing could be uglier than that all consuming darkness living inside my body.
So, as I listened to the choice that Tyler Clementi made I was taken back to those hours where I prayed for death. Thankfully, I pulled through unscathed but I will never in my life forget the anguish that forcefully led me to a place that made me contemplate death. I will never stop reaching out to those people who need to hear that someone, anyone is listening. I don’t care what the circumstances are. I don’t feel the need to place labels on groups of humanity or place one in higher regard than an another. I just care for people who, like I once did, are contemplating suicide.
On a mystical level, I chalk it up to my zodiac sign. I’m a Libra. The scales of justice… I stick up for the underdog; I want everyone to face life on a level playing field. I’ll fight for a person who is being attacked or belittled. I naively go about my life expecting that people will wake each day with open minds and empathy in their hearts. Mostly, I go to bed at night with some disappointment in humanity.
I’m not a political person. I don’t affiliate with any party simply because of the ugliness involved. Labels, finger pointing and social intolerance from any angle doesn’t work for me. So when a heartfelt sentiment coming from a place of genuine love and acceptance is twisted into a political thing…an ugly attack, I feel it. This is my flaw.
I’ve thought about this a lot over the past 48 hours. Where does this personality trait come from? Why must I run through a gamut of emotions and view every hurtful exchange from every possible angle? Will I ever stop beating myself up for taking things so personally and feeling such immense disappointment in people? Why do I do this to myself? Why can’t I let it roll off my back like the “normal” people do and continue on? I’ve never been able to walk away from a situation like this without feeling bruised, just as I have never been able to ignore a person in need. Is that a flaw? Is it a flaw to feel things so deeply? Maybe… Maybe not. I’m sensitive. I like to find beauty in whatever I can and when I’ve exhausted the possibility of locating any, I move on.
|Ophelia. Odilon Redon|