I have this odd idea floating around in my head, not yet fully formed, about killing myself metaphorically. I’m aware that I can’t truly be present in my life today for as long as I continue to hang onto the past. As long as I am comparing where I am to where I think I am supposed to be, I’m not really anywhere. I am stuck in the unrealized potential of a child. In the self-destructive behavior of a teenager and young adult. In the mental illness of a twenty-something. I am in the story of who I think I am. To be free of those stories would, I think, free me to be here, now. If, that is what I really want. As much as I think it is, truth be told, I’m afraid of it too.
I killed myself once before in ritual. It was a little more than a year ago. I was lying on my living room floor, staring up at the ceiling, and I had an image of me slashing my wrists, slitting my throat and driving a knife into my heart. I decided to play out the fantasy in pretend with as little thought as a shrug. Gripping nothing but air, I slashed my hand across by wrist, across my throat, and then brought my fist down over my heart. I lay on the floor imagining myself bleeding out. Then I did the next thing that came to mind, and the next, and the next. What evolved was an hour long spontaneous ritual that had me doing some very strange things alone in my apartment on a Friday afternoon. Afterward I felt empty. I felt as though someone had died. Two days later I called one of my best friends to talk over the possibility of hospitalizing myself. Five days after that I quit my job. I had a profound spiritual experience a few weeks later that lead me to lay my thirty-two year old child to rest in a Jewish cemetery in another act of ritual. It would seem that perhaps I still haven’t let that child go.
The truth is, I want to hang onto my old stories as much as I yearn for my freedom from them. I don’t know who I am without them. And, I fear, I’m not much of anything at all with them.
Perhaps to live I also have to die. I don’t mean this literally. The idea that has been slowly piecing itself together since late last night has something to do with again saying goodbye to the person I have known myself to be. I know that I could put down this computer and do something with what little I have at my disposal tonight. I could write or draw representations of all the things I think I’ve been and all the things I never amounted to, but think I should have. Then I could burn them. Or I could take them to the beach and leave them to the sea.
And for some reason that I can’t explain, I know that I will not do this. I will hold onto these things for at least one more night. Even if they are the very things that threaten to kill me. Even if they are the very things keeping me from living. Perhaps because they are the very things keeping me from living.