Martyr/Charlatan

I have seen people speak romantically about suicide and I cannot see that. I don’t want to hear us speak about our own deaths as if they were long lost lovers. I do not want to see another person I love end their own life for any reason. I hope they are all here in the morning when I wake up.

I have spoken about suicide many times before and I will speak about it again. I felt called recently to speak on it once more, because I have seen a dramatic change in our mentality that I cannot leave alone. After Donald Trump’s election, I heard that (at the time of writing this…) at least 8 trans youth have committed suicide in the wake of Trump’s win. I have heard every few days of someone just outside of my social circles who has killed themselves and I want to return to this topic for the millionth time because I have been talking to friends and loved ones who continue still to use the term “kill myself” as a light hearted joke.

I have done it many times myself, even after I decided to put a stop to that. To silence myself in moments of weakness. To remember that the words I say carry more weight than I will ever be able to.

I wonder what it is within us that makes so many people desire death in the way that we do. If we did not ask for it, we would not seek it out willingly. Death, especially when self imposed, leaves pressure cracks on everyone around you.

One man at my workplace once started a conversation with me about suicide. Telling me that he had once tried to kill himself, that he had reached that dark place where it is virtually impossible to seek out answers. That he had hit the lowest point a human can go. He then told me that he had failed and had found a new appreciation for life and it had changed him forever. I continued this conversation with this man as he went on to tell me that “Kids who commit suicide just want to be Martyrs.” That they only do it so that they will start an outcry. So that they will be regarded as heroes because they did not feel heroic in their waking life. I grew angry as he said it, because it wasn’t sensitive and it wasn’t kind. Still, his words stuck with me for a long time. Perhaps they do and if so, the tactic works. We hang on to the last breath of our loved ones for years to come. We remember things about them that we wouldn’t keep in mind if they were still down the road. We think of those things constantly.

It wasn’t for a few hours that I finally calmed down and started to think about what he said to me.

This man, later in life filled with a wealth of experiences and lessons he could teach me told me something that sparked a fuse inside of my mind. That people kill themselves so that their voices can be heard. I don’t agree with that mentality. I never have and I likely never will, but what if?

As this fuse burned another figure in my personal life told me that suicide was the wrong answer to life, in his (paraphrased) words “When someone kills themselves, they forsake all of the things that God has given them. They rebuke him and he will find himself in hell.”

Which I also do not agree with, being the religious man that I am I’ve always believed that once we have accepted God, He will never leave us. It says there is nothing that can take us from his hands. Which does not have exceptions.

So where does that leave the dynamite within my mind?

One side who tells me that suicide is an attention seeking act and the other who tells me that it is the worst sin you can commit to a God who loves you. I pondered both of these answers so much that I had begun to think myself into the ground. I couldn’t come up with a validated answer to either statement. I could not argue then because I did not have the answers. I still don’t but I am on my way to them.

If kids have begun killing themselves for attention (reminder that I don’t actually believe this happens as it is stated.) then there is a reason. It means that the person in question wasn’t receiving attention that they needed when they were alive. They didn’t feel wanted or needed or god forbid, loved. So they assumed that the only way to find that attention and desire from others was to end their own life. Perhaps hoping that they could feel those things in the afterlife. They were looking for a heroic mantle and found that they could only wear it in the world of spirits.

So… I pose the question then, how hard is it to pay more attention to others? How hard is it to look at another human being like a king or a queen? How hard is it to treat our fellow man like royalty? Not because we need to save them all, but because we appreciate them. Because we respect them. Because even the smallest action that grows from humility and is watered with love can grow a tree to be stronger than you’d ever imagine it to be.

So what then, about the religious men and woman who have ended their own lives? The ones who claimed to live with love and happiness and joy all the time. The ones we so quickly label as Charlatans for their sins?

Perhaps the answer isn’t difficult to find. People can fall into holes. It happens all the time, to so many of us. If we are truly living in fellowship, religious or not, we should notice when a friend or a loved one has fallen down. Yet we don’t it isn’t that easy. The mere concept of suicide is difficult to grasp. Why someone would reach that place, what would drive them over the edge?

The simple response is that there are few answers that make sense. It is impossible to place, we cannot reason with it when they are gone. All that is left is a body and a thousand holes inside a thousand hearts shaped just like that person’s smile.

With all things in this life, if we can’t understand it we should always try. We shouldn’t slap names onto it and try to write it off as something we can’t harbor. Every person I’ve known who has intentionally killed themselves was dealing with something I was not privy to. I’m sure that someone had an idea, but we tend to be so interested in our own lives that we forget to look to our sides and see there is trouble in them that is not attached to us.

What all of this speech is leading up to is this:

If you are feeling this, the desire to end your own life because of any reason, know that there are options. There are ways out. There are people who still love you. I love you and I will have open ears for you to bleed into whenever you can. I am here for you, forever, no President, no location difference, no single thing can stop that. Because you are important. You are something to be fallen in love with. All of your victories and your faults and your laughter is special. Hold on for one more day, when the sun rises, we will worry about tomorrow. There is nothing like seeing the sunrise in the winter. There is nothing like knowing you are still alive the next day. Don’t fall in love with death.

Fall in love with yourself.

@alvatobiasbooks

Pre-orders are live for my latest book! “Mean Shadows” — 26 Short Tales is available here.

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