0

Once More Around The Sun

Today is my birthday.

When I was a little girl, I never dreamed I’d live past being 10. Then it got pushed up to 20. Then 30. Granted, while I’m only turning 28, I’ve learned a few things. The first is to stop counting upwards using only increments of 10’s, and secondly that for as long as I can put off ending my life, I might just make it further in life. I’m not happy, don’t mistake what I’m saying for growth, cause it’s not, but what I am saying is that for some people, existence isn’t a struggle. They enjoy being alive, at least on a base human level, enjoy seeing friends, having their families, getting jobs, having relationships, etc. But for others, it’s a struggle, and for me it’s an absolute slog. So, other people go through life, sometimes having a midlife crisis or so along the way, until they finally reach their 80s and die. Meanwhile, I’m actively bored of existing, yet because there’s such a stigma surrounding suicide, shaming people who simply don’t want to hurt anymore, and also because I’m always constantly in the middle of something (a movie, laundry, writing this blog post you’re reading), I keep having to put off killing myself.

Now, people may take that and go “Well, that indecision means you really don’t want to do it then!” and while I respect everyones right to their opinion, no, they’re wrong and they should shut up. Did they make this diagnosis from the comfort of their bedroom doctors desk chair? You don’t know me, or what I’ve been through or how I feel. I WANT to die. I do. I just keep having shit come up that has to be taken care of, and I’m not one to flake on responsibilities and abandon projects. In essence, my perfectionism is extending my life sentence, and yes I say life sentence and not life span, because much like prison, I didn’t ask to be here and I certainly want it to be over with. Now, I’ve written a blog post in the past about how if you can come up with things to do like “I can’t kill myself until this tv show is over” or “I can’t end my life until I feed my dog” then you can keep yourself from dying, but this isn’t that.

This is about literally being so busy to never have time to die. People complain all the time about being ‘so busy’. Every single college student will tell you that, that they’re ‘so busy’, like getting up at 11 is so hard when they forget that they used to get up at 7 to go to high school. People stay busy with jobs, with social lives, with hobbies. Everywhere you look, at any given point, somebody is doin’ something. They’re reading a book, or riding a bike or watching a movie or having dinner with friends or going on dates or working until closing, or, yes, being in school. Everyone has a constricted schedule in which what they want to do often takes a backseat to what they have to do. In my case, the thing that keeps getting pushed back is killing myself, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it. Just like those other people, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to take the weekend off for themselves and try and learn a new language or see the new action flick, they just don’t have the time or the energy, and let’s face it, killing yourself takes a lot of effort. My preference has always been to hang myself, but then I gotta get a rope so I gotta probably go to the hardware store and buy a rope and then learn to tie a knot good enough that it won’t come undone, and then find somewhere to hang myself, find a surface high enough that it’ll kill me when I’m not standing on it anymore. I mean, by the time I got to the actual act of hanging myself, I’m wasted half my fuckin’ day just prepping, and that’s without a note! Honestly, who’s got the fuckin’ time?

So, this is just what’s working for me. I hope those who are struggling also continue, as I don’t want anyone else to die. I just personally don’t wanna be alive, but I am, and I’m working with the hand I’ve been dealt. So let’s go for one more round universe, take me around the sun another time.

1

Beauty

I was once a leaf, perched high atop a tree; I was once a flower, growing from the ground

I was once a painting, made for all to see; I was once a song, a symphony of sound

But seasons change and leaves fall out, they’re stepped on, crushed to dust

And flowers are all picked out, to give to those you trust

And paintings are stored in closets, never to be seen again

And music, it becomes muted, and never makes it to the end

Everything that was once beautiful, that we held in high esteem; everything we all admired, everything that made us dream

It all goes away eventually, nothing’s as it seems; beauty gives way to darkness, laughter gives way to screams

So destroy me all you want, erase my heart and soul; quiet all my thoughts and words and take away control

Because no matter what you do, I was beautiful one day; and I know that’s more than you will ever get to say.

0

Time Capsule

Every year I go to my father’s for his birthday.

I don’t take him out for a meal, or to see a film or anything like that. We talk for a while, I give him his gift, and then we do what we’ve done every year for the last 7 years…we open up his time capsule. Inside, there are 5 items, each as important as the last. We take them out one by one, examining and discussing them. The first is a beautiful, golden ring. He puts it in the time capsule, because he wants to make sure it never gets lost, and he wants to give it to me when I get married. He says it’s a perfect fit, and I know it’s true, because I’ve tried it on. On the inner curve of the ring, there’s an inscription that reads, “Your smile is my oxygen.”

Next would have to be the camera. It’s a small, black camera that he took all of my childhood photos on, and that he took every photo in general on for as long as I can remember. He and my mother bought it at a thrift store before they got married, and he’d used it ever since. He even took every photo from their honeymoon on it. He tells me that I should do the same, ‘keep it in the family’, so to speak.

After that would be the corsage. It’s a beautiful shade of pink, and it fits perfectly on my wrist. It was my mothers as well, and she was the one who put it into the time capsule. He got it for her on their prom night, and she still cherishes it he says.

After the corsage comes the key. It’s the key to the first place my parents owned. It was their dream house. He says my mom wishes they still lived there, but I know better, that she’s happy where she is now. She’s happy where they are. But, that aside, it’s still an important piece of their history, and therefore, it’s made its way into the time capsule.

Finally, the last item in the box is a baby photo of me. It was taken by that same camera, in the hospital, mere moments after I was born. In the photo, my mother is holding me, beaming so happily, and my father says it’s her favorite photo of all time. After we’re through, we repack the time capsule, put it back onto the top shelf of his closet and go to dinner. We do this every single year.

We do this every single year, and we will continue to do so. We do it for mom. She’s been gone a while now, but they made that time capsule together on her deathbed in the hospital, where they spent her last days together. She told him that this way, they’d never be apart. This way, none of us would be apart. My father won’t admit it, but he misses her more than he lets on, though he tries to stay strong. But, if you look at just the right angle into his eyes, you can see her, still caught in his gaze, looking just as beautiful as the day they met.

We miss you, mom.

Dad especially.

0

This Is My Jam

When I was a little girl, every year in elementary school at the end of the year, they piled us into the auditorium like cattle, made us sit on the floor and watch a video presentation of photos and video clips and such taken over the course of the year of the kids, and along with the video was the song “Forever Young”. Every single year they did this, every single year we heard “Forever Young”.

Do you really want to live forever?

That’s an actual lyric from this song they played to kids in elementary schools. To be honest, I doubt a lot of kids wouldn’t take any note of that, but being who I am, I did, and it fucked with me. I had family members die when I was still in elementary school, it’s true, but I don’t think it was until having that hammered home in my head every fucking year that I truly became self aware of mortality. Ever since then, I’ve had a problem accepting that I will die, and once I had that realization, the realization that we all die anyway no matter what, I hit an even bigger realization: Why bother living at all. Hello suicidal tendencies, thanks Alphaville.

And with there being so many songs out there about mortality, about life and death and sadness and existence, why the fuck was it the quintessential 80s prom slow dance anthem that made me question life as I knew it? The real issue is that once you hit that peak, there’s no going back either. That’s one oopsie you can’t unwhoopsie. As if a kid doesn’t have enough problems leading into adolescence, I hardly doubt nihilism is something they also should have to deal with. I had a lot on my plate as it was; being autistic, keeping my sexuality a secret and being somewhat ashamed of it, and great now I have to wonder about the meaning of life itself on top of it. Great. Book reports? Fuck book reports. Existentialism is where it was at.

But…there’s shockingly an upside to being that self aware, especially that young. It really puts everything into perspective, makes you realize you need to make the most of the time that you have, if you want it to mean a damn thing once you are gone. For me, that meant writing as much as I could and creating as much art as I could. Something to leave behind. Something that meant something to someone. Something that meant anything to anyone. The way I saw it, the only things that lasted were the things we created to last, so we needed to leave behind as much as we could for others to remember. Or, you know, remember at least until the sun explodes and literally everything dies, but still.

Existence, it’s…a weird thing, honestly.

People literally tell you that life is a gift. That it’s precious. They often tell you this while they’re eating an animal. Life is only precious if it fits their idea of what life is and who deserves it. Not that I’m any sort of animal activist, but still. They tell you that you’re so lucky to be here at this point in time in history. Really? A planet plagued with overpopulation, with war and famine and injustice and hatred and greed? I’m lucky, huh? I guess we are, because it allows us to create art mocking these things. It allows us to write songs that speak out against these things. Songs that enlighten us and change our frame of mind. Songs about being young forever. Yeah, I would like to be forever young, actually. When you’re young everything is fresh and new and exciting, not stale and cold like when you’re older. Maybe that’s the point of the song. To recognize how jaded you can become. To push the truth that to survive, you need to stay forever young, even if only at heart, because otherwise you risk becoming cynical and spiteful and cruel. Being forever young allows you to deal with things with a childlike innocence, a view of the world where everyone isn’t just painted black and white but with every color in the crayon box. People say kids are inherently evil. People say that hatred is taught. I think I’ve stated before that I think love is the one that’s taught, because you have to teach kids not to hit and to share, but that doesn’t mean kids are entirely evil in general.

Kids should get more credit than they’re given for seeing the world a lot more clearly than any adult really does. A national tragedy happens and all the adults look for meaning, search for reasoning, ask “why did this happen” and mourn for years. A tragedy happens and a kid says, “Well…that sucks. Nothing I can do about it. Oh well.” Is it because they simply don’t understand the enormous ramifications? Possibly. But they say ignorance is bliss, so maybe there’s something to that.

People say Bob Dylan is a spokesperson for the world. People say John Lennon was a lover for the world. We’re all allowed to have our opinions, but honestly, Alphaville are the true heroes.

Do I want to be forever young?

Yes. And I will flourish because of it.

0

Let Myself Be Eaten By Coyotes

Maybe if I just lay here long enough, stay quiet enough, I could just let myself be eaten by coyotes,” Nina thought, laying on the dirt in the middle of the field. She’d driven out here with no real reason in mind, and now didn’t know if she wanted to even go back. She wasn’t even sure she could find her way back in this darkness, given the lack of signage way out here. Nina dug her fingers deep into the dirt, feeling the cool night breeze wafting over her, gently blowing her bangs across her eyes.

Maybe they’ll eat me, and they’ll be starving, and the meal they get from me could save them, finally rendering me useful in some grand fashion,” she thought, “And then some day someone will come out here and find my bones, or I’ll just be buried under the dirt forever and nobody will ever know what happened to me.

Nina felt a bug crawling on her unsleeved arm, and looked over to see a large beetle stopped on her arm, looking around. She sat up and held her arm in front of her, staring at this beetle intensely. After a few minutes, she picked it up with her other hand and put him back down on the dirt and watched him quickly scurry off into the darkness. She felt herself shiver and she grabbed her jacket off the hood of her car, pulling it over her tanktop. She stood up and walked to her car door, pulling it open and getting inside, searching for a radio station but getting nothing; just static. She exhaled loudly and brushed her bangs out of the way, then reached into her backpack and pulled out a tape recorder. She got back out of the car, sighed, cleared her throat and clicked ‘record’, pacing back and forth.

“My name is Nina Turan,” she said clearly, “I’m 35, and I’m a Pisces. I’m recording this on the unlikelihood that someone finds it and cares enough, or knows how, to press ‘play’ on something this fucking antiquated. I’m…going out of my mind with frustration, of every kind. General frustration, employment frustration, physical frustration, sexual frustration. You name it, and I’m frustrated by it. But that’s not why I’m doing this. Frustration can easily be overcome with the right mixture of techniques. I’m going to blow myself up in my car, and not because of frustration but because of sheer boredom.”

She pressed ‘stop’ and took a long, deep breath, wiped her forehead on her jacket sleeve and then resumed recording.

“Not boredom like ‘I just have nothing to do tonight’ sort of boredom but more like…I’ve experienced everything I’d care to at this point in life and now it’s like 50 years of this same shit day in and day out and that’s just not for me. And I’m not gonna become a cliche, like some YA novel, and just take off on a road trip, as if a few thousand miles in a jacked up Volvo with an 80s mixtape could easily solve all of my angst. See, up to a point in life, everything is a brand new experience, everything is exciting and a first. Your first car, first kiss, first sexual experience, first apartment, first job, all of that shit. Then, you hit this peak where it’s nothing but repeats. It’s like your life was canceled and sent into late night syndication on a channel that barely comes in anyway.”

She pressed ‘stop’ again and sat on the hood of her car, surveying the empty field before continuing on.

“Then there’s everyone around you who acts like they want what’s best for you, but only because they want it for themselves. Parents are a great example, saying things like ‘you don’t want to die, what about have children? a family?’ but not because they think you’ll actually enjoy it, but more because they want grandchildren. They want to be a part of society, the grandparent portion of life, and they couldn’t give less than two shits how having children affected your life. I can’t take care of children. I can barely take care of myself. Sorry mom, too bad. Life, society, has far more expectations for me than I have ever had for myself. That’s fucked up.”

She pressed ‘stop’ again and looked around, running her hands through her dark curly brown hair, unsure of how to finish this note to…no one in particular, really. She had also just seen a flaw in her plan, which was where the fuck was she going to leave this? Just in the dirt, next to a burning pile of metal and human remains? Jesus. She could never do anything right it seemed, not even kill herself. There was always something to fuck up. She pressed ‘record’ once more.

“Anyway, I guess that about sums it up. If anyone actually ever finds and listens to this, let it be known that once again my name is, was, Nina Turan. I was 35, with brown curly hair, I liked alternative music and I fucking hated Russel Crowe with a burning passion that could only be likened to that which Americans hate religious tolerance of any religion that isn’t their own. Thanks for listening. Goodbye.”

She pressed ‘stop’ once again and slid off the hood of her car. She took her jacket off, wrapped the tape record in it and put it on the dirt, gently patting it before getting back up and walking to the tailpipe of her car. She pulled out a bottle of alcohol, a rag and a lighter, lit the rag and stuffed it into the bottle of alcohol a certain length so it’d eventually explode when the two finally touched. Nina then shoved the bottle into her tailpipe, then got into her car and put her forehead on the steering wheel. She knew it’d only take a few minutes, and she raced through everything in her life that had ever happened. Every memory she had, good or bad, and knew she was making the right choice.

She heard a howl and looked up, seeing a coyote standing outside in front of the car. Their eyes appeared to lock with hers, and she slowly got out of the car and waved her arms at it, trying to shoo it away, but it wasn’t moving. She finally picked up a rock and tossed it at it.

“Get out of here you stupid fucking mutant dog!” she shouted, and after a moment the coyote finally turned tail and ran. She sighed, rubbed her forehead and then heard the explosion of the car behind her. She turned to see the car engulfed in flames, and completely destroyed.

“God dammit,” she mumbled, before picking up her jacket and the tape recorder and starting to walk down the road, “Now I’m gonna be late for work tomorrow.”

0

She Will Always Forgive You

She calls her mother every Thursday at around 8 pm.

She’ll pour herself a glass of wine, and sit there in her kitchen, on the phone with the woman who caused her so much pain, so much self hate growing up, and try and make things right. She’ll try and be the bigger person. She talks sometimes for over an hour, relaying to her mother all the things she did to her that hurt her, that fucked up her up, and how she’s trying her hardest to move past all that now. How it was her therapists idea to not call, but she couldn’t resist, she had to do this. How this is beneficial to her well being, to her moving on with her life.

She probably shouldn’t drink while she does it, she knows this, but it sometimes helps her get the words out, especially since the words are quite harsh, and yet in the end she is asking for forgiveness. She wants to forgive her mother, and forgive herself for not talking to her about how she treated her for so many years. For not confronting her sooner for how horrid she made her childhood. Always criticizing her weight, always criticizing her looks in general, her taste in fashion and music and anything at all. How she’s made her daughter grow up to question anything and everything. Her interests, her hobbies, herself, even her relationships with other people. This goes on for months.

Doesn’t even matter that she’s just leaving messages on an answering machine.

Until that day comes when finally, someone picks up the phone on the other end and asks her, very politely to please stop leaving these messages. That it’s scaring their children. That they know she is doing this to ease her grief but this isn’t her mothers number anymore, and they’re sorry for both her loss and what her mother had done to her to make her feel the need to do this. She understands. She knows her mother is gone. She knows she’s been leaving these messages on a machine tied to a number no longer associated with her past. She promises not to do it anymore.

She eventually calls back a few months later.

The line is disconnected.

Grief, forgiveness, these are hard things to deal with together. When you hate someone for hurting you as much as they did in the way that they did, and yet you want to forgive them because you don’t want to carry that hate around inside of you. So many people these days say you don’t owe these abusers anything, and while that is true, and it might work for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes letting go isn’t just cutting a cord. Sometimes letting go means letting go of how bad they made you feel too, and knowing that they themselves often only hurt you because someone hurt them. Cause and effect. She doesn’t want to hold onto anger anymore. She wants to move on, but it’s tough. And it’s tougher when the abuser has died.

She left a bunch of messy, rambling messages, but she does sleep a little better these nights.

0

Everything They Didn’t Teach You In School

The bird, which couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old, had been laying there for a few days now. Long enough for ants to start marching in and burrowing deep inside it. Derek Fisher and Sandy Price were standing over it, in Derek’s parents backyard, as he poked it casually with a stick. Sandy took a puff off her cigarette and then tossed the butt to the ground, stomping it out with her hiking boot.

“School didn’t prepare me for anything like this,” Sandy said, wiping her nose on the sleeve of her dark blue windbreaker, “School doesn’t teach kids what they need to know about death or anything important. Everything they teach you is a lie.”

“I guess there’s some things that are bets left to parents, but even then most parents don’t want to take that initiative,” Derek said, “But could you imagine if schools did teach that kind of thing? Parents have a hard enough time with letting their schools teach kids about sex, I can’t imagine they’d even let them touch death.”

“Both those things are natural and inevitable!” Sandy said, “I mean, unless you’re asexual, but god dammit, why do people have such a hard time talking to their kids about stuff? Why did I have to learn from a dropout uncle that we killed the Indians and took their land, whereas school just taught me that we got along and were all friends and ate the first thanksgiving together? What the fuck kind of world is this? We’re just going to LIE to children, and then expect them to believe everything, and then get mad when they call something that’s clearly bullshit out on its bullshit?”

“I’m on your side, remember, don’t yell at me,” Derek said, kneeling down and turning the bird over with the stick. Sandy put a hand over her mouth, coughing a bit. Derek looked back at her, “Does this disgust you?”

“Well it’s not like you’re playing with a puppy.”

“Did your parents ever have ‘the talk’ with you?” Derek asked, making quote marks with his fingers when he said that, and Sandy smirked.

“Don’t do that,” she said, half laughing, “And yeah, they did. They didn’t have it with my brother. They figure it’s ok to give it to the girl, because it’s her job to be responsible, make sure to use protection. Apparently men can’t be bothered.”

“That is some serious patriarchal bullshit,” Derek said, “My dad had ‘the talk’ with me when I was, I don’t know…maybe 15? Like 3 years after already jacking off constantly. A little late to the game, dad, but whatever. I was happy he did though, like, sure it was uncomfortable at first but in the end, his advice came in handy. My parents never talked to me about death though.”

“No, like, I had an aunt that died when I was like 11, and we went to her funeral and everything, and they told me she was sleeping. Like, I was 11 for christ sakes, and they still fed me that bullshit. Why would they give me the talk, and then just gloss over death. Like, of those two things, death is the way more important one, I think. Sex is a decision you make. You CHOOSE to participate in that. Nobody chooses to die. I mean, I guess suicidal people do, but still.”

Derek stood up and wiped his hands on his pants, then looked at the glass door on the wooden porch that led to the kitchen, where he could see his mother and mentally challenged sister sitting at the kitchen table, doing a puzzle together.

“While my mother was pregnant, they learned that the baby might have some brain damage. They were given the option to abort her, in case they didn’t want to have to deal with that. It was never in the baby’s favor, by the way, it was always ‘in case WE, the ADULTS can’t handle it’ not ‘let’s spare this child pain and misery’. Anyway, they obviously didn’t, but that’s how they explained death to me. They talked about, ya know, aborting her and what that would mean, and they asked how I felt about that. I was like 9. The thing is, all I got out of that conversation was that my sister hadn’t even been born yet, and was going to have mental instabilities that she wasn’t to blame for or could control, and they might kill her. I’m not pro life by any means, but as a 9 year old, that set a really weird standard in my head. Your child isn’t even born and they might not want or love you. Certainly made me try and be perfect in their eyes from then on, cause I was a kid, and I didn’t want them to abort me somehow.”

“That’s fucked up dude,” Sandy said, as they sauntered over to the picnic table in the backyard, next to the plastic playground, and took their seats at the table. Derek watched Sandy fidget, clearly a bit cold, and he took his scarf off and wrapped it around her neck, holding onto the ends of the scarf and pulled her close, their foreheads landing on one another. Sandy smiled and shut her eyes.

“They also never teach you in school what to do if someone hurts you,” Derek said.

“No, they don’t. I imagine because everyone deals with it differently,” Sandy said, their eyes opened and locked now, both breathing somewhat heavily. Derek leaned in and pressed his lips against hers, his warm breath making her shudder. A few seconds into kissing her, the backdoor opened and his mother and sister came out. The kiss broke apart, and they went back to sitting there.

“Derek,” his mother said, approaching the table, “Are you staying for dinner, or do you have other plans?”

“I guess we could stay,” Derek said, glancing at Sandy, who was blushing and nodded, affirming his decision. As his mother smiled and walked over to the playground where his sister was playing on the swings, Sandy looked at Derek.

“If one of us dies, can we promise to haunt the other?” Sandy asked.

“I think we can swing that,” Derek said as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it for her. Sandy took it and placed it between her lips. She smiled and blushed as she exhaled the smoke into his face and he laughed.

“I wish they had taught me more useful things,” Derek said, “I don’t know how to balance a checkbook, but thank god I know what the volume of a cylinder is. How to handle heartbreak, how to deal with death, how to be careful with sex…none of those things are important, apparently.”

“Sometimes it takes another person to teach you, not an educational facility,” Sandy said, coughing, and Derek looked at her, then looked back at the bird, and sighed.

“Let’s take him home, clean him up and make him part of the family,” Derek said, “He might be dead, but he doesn’t have to be alone.”