Monday, November 15, 2010

It Gets Better - Chelsea Swiggett (The Page Flipper)

I said yes to writing this because yes is my standard answer. I’m kind of an impulsive person. Yes, I’ll drive to New York with you tomorrow. Yes, I’ll go camping. Yes, I’ll go parasailing. Yes, yes, yes. Because, in my mind, I want to be the kind of person that does that kind of stuff. I want to be that person so badly. But unlike Jim Carrey, I back down from a lot of the stuff I say yes to. Because I’m terrified. I love the idea of being brave and courageous and spontaneous, but a lot of the time I’m way too scared to be.
But when I said yes to writing this post, I knew I wouldn’t back down. I’m actually glad Devyn put me on the latter half of the schedule, because reading everyone’s posts has been completely inspiring. I’ve taken some bravery from every one of you who’s said “it gets better.”
I’m not a witness to suicide. But I know people who are. I know someone who’s talked someone down from the edge of it. I know someone who’s thought about it. I know someone who was completely scarred by it. I’ve seen the wounds on people who’ve been completely altered by it.
I remember, when I was younger, some girl behind me kicked the back of my seat. I was sitting, cross-legged, feeling horrendously crappy because I had a bad day. And she kicked my seat. I turned around and glared at her, one of my all-encompassing bitch-glares, but she did it again. So I walked up to the bus driver and complained about her. It felt somewhat satisfying.
A couple months later, I found out that girl, sitting behind me, died from cancer. She didn’t commit suicide. But she died. She was way too young. I wondered what she would have grown up to read, to watch. Wondered who she would have married. If she would have had kids and watched Toy Story with them. I barely knew her, but part of that moment still stays with me and I feel completely guilty about it. I think the reason I’m telling this story is because no matter how little significance you think you have – and you have to feel unworthy if you’re willing to take your own life – you affect people. You change people’s lives. You leave a mark. Even on people you don’t expect. And you can choose to leave a good mark or a bad mark. You can be there to witness that mark or you can not be there. You have worth and you will have worth. There is so, so much left to see.
I’ve always been terrified to live. To say yes and follow through with it. To travel and to write how I’m feeling and to speak my mind and to breathe. My anxiety has crippled me, a lot. I’ve been to a point where I didn’t think I could go on living, at all. I’ve been to a point where all I was doing was living, but I wasn’t really living. I was just sinking. I’ve been to a point where I’ve questioned if life was worth living, hundreds of times. Because life is horrifying, terrifying, crippling, ugly. But it’s also absolutely beautiful. There are people who are good and who want to leave a mark on you. There are places, cultures, other lives to see. There’s something outlandishly gorgeous about this Earth and the people in it, the tragedy and the passion. Is it worth living? I decided yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And this yes, I will absolutely follow through with. 


Naomi Ruth said...

Thanks for this post. I'm writing a book right now that deals with suicide and it's been hard. Hits a little too close to home sometimes.

Thank you for writing this!

Donna Hole said...

A beautifully written sharing journey. I'm sure it will help many people to read it. It is a brave thing to talk about.