When I was 14, I thought I should die.
I can’t tell you that I wanted death, no.
I thought the right thing for me was death.
I thought my mom wanted me to die.
I thought my sisters would rather have me dead.
I thought my friends would be better with me out of the circle.
When I was 14, I took all the hatred
I could imagine is in the world and
dripped it back into myself
one word at a time.
I am a mistake.
I am an offense to nature.
I am not the way I’m supposed to be.
There’s a glitch in my programming.
Normal doesn’t find its way into my head.
I should be dead. It would be easier. It would make everyone’s life better. I am selfish to have my feelings and still choose to live. Still choose to breathe. Still decide that I am here, worthy of all that it takes to keep myself breathing.
I am now 20. With that same script; only edited. I keep having to remind myself that my mother wants me alive. My sister wants me alive. My friends want me alive. And I want myself alive. I’m not sure about the rest of the world. I don’t know if my aunts want me alive. I’m not sure how many people will choose to look at the good sides of me, if they know I’m in love with a woman. I only care that I am in a family that wants me alive.
I wish I could be somewhere where my life is not a negotiation.
Every morning, I choose to be myself. It feels like a revolution to have my short haircut. To refuse dresses. Why does it feel like a revolutionary act to be honest? It shouldn’t be.
Right now, choosing honesty is an act of courage.
I want to die in a world where it’s a right.
I want to die of natural causes. Or out of my own stupidity. I want to die a rare death. I want to die with a smile on my face. I want to die in the middle of a song. I want death to cut off my life like a cliff-hanger. I want to live and live and live. I want to live an interesting life. I want to live until I can raise a rainbow flag somewhere. I want to live until I have no breaths in me anymore. I want to live in spite of everyone who thinks I shouldn’t exist. I don’t want to worry that my death might be at someone else’s hands. I don’t want to worry that maybe one day, my hair will look short enough to shorten someone else’s temper long enough for them to grab death in their fists and deliver it to me. I don’t want my death to be a headline. I don’t want my death to make a point.
I don’t want my life to be a negotiation,
my death to be a debate,
or my love to be a question.
And I don’t want to want to die.
When I was 14, I thought I should die. I have spent years convincing myself I shouldn’t.
Right now, so many voices are shouting: You should have done it. You should have killed yourself.
I know how to laugh these voices off now. But I worry.
Someone else is 14 today. Someone else is confused. Someone else is finding out things about themselves they are not ready for. Someone else could kill themselves. And I can do nothing about it.
Since I heard about Sara’s death, I have been mourning. I am grieving over her, and over my 14-year-old self (who could have easily died if some things went differently), and all the other names I don’t know.
Sara’s death is not only hers; it is a defeat for the 14-year-old I was. It is the world telling me that I should have killed myself. That I should do it today. That I don’t deserve my mother’s love. That the rest of who I am doesn’t matter.
These voices are loud and strong.
These voices have broken my heart before.
They found their way to the cracks again.
I will be stubborn enough to live anyway.