Death Notes

It seems surreal that people like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain would commit suicide.

Yet it also feels very familiar.

You see I tried it once.  And occasionally the idea still tugs at me, even though my life has been blessed at times in ways other people might envy.

It has never been golden, but my life has had its share of silver linings.

Yet that has never made me feel like I “belong.” I have seldom felt that with those who have peopled my life. Even those closest to me. Sometimes those I have loved most especially.

I don’t know if I am this way due to nature or nurture.  In personality tests, I always come out as “melancholy” in temperament.  I am a watchful person.  The slightest perception of displeasure or annoyance I see is a blip on my emotional radar headed my direction.

If I value your opinion of me, it is like a knife to the heart.  If I don’t, it is confirmation that I am right that you dislike me. Either way, a gap exists between us I fear will never be bridged.

If I am imperfect in any way, it is a negation of my very being.  I cannot stand to watch people see my flaws  I live in desperate fear they will find them out and spread the word of my unworth.  If I had a leper’s shroud, I would hold it very tightly round me, hoping for invisibility.

Yet there are times when there is a definite disconnect between the manner I project and how I really feel inside.

I can make a show of self-confidence that doesn’t really exist.  I can fight to make my ideas heard, to prove myself the only person at the table with the right point of view.

Yet I am very insecure.  If people only really knew.

At my worst moments, I am either completely raw – like a hurricane has ravaged me to my core – or totally blank, with praise and compliments rolling off me like rain sliding down a window pane.

Either I take too much in, or I take in nothing at all.  It is disconcerting to on the one hand feel too much too deeply, and on the other hand be numb to any positive feeling.

I had a boss once who said that every employee was like a finger plunged into a bucket of water.  Remove the finger, and it was like you were never even there.  Your presence would be displaced by the water rushing back toward itself.

The displacement your presence made was relevant only so long as you were in the environment.  Go away, and it is as if you never were.

I think that is why my writing has always been so important to me.  It is the one part of me that is indelible, that claims my existence, that says I was here and I had something uniquely my own to say.

Yet I procrastinated for years to put my poems together in publishable manuscripts.  I was so afraid they were words put together in a melody that would never make anyone else’s soul sing the way they did my own.

But I finally did it.  For as long as the Library of Congress exists, my manuscripts will be there on a shelf somewhere; my ISBN numbers catalogued.

Visiting my parents’ grave site for the first time in 20 plus years last May, I learned that names and dates on headstones fade.

But words put down on paper have permanence, if only for the moment they are thought and given form.

It is a slender thread to hold onto for someone who doesn’t always feel like holding onto her own life.

But it is better than being completely untethered by gravity at all.




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