The day my pants were ripped from my body
as my classmates laughed at my exposed skin
was the first time I wanted to die. I walked out
on my education to hold a knife to my wrist
ready to remove my blood. I could see my body
on the kitchen floor a sea of red under the refrigerator.
I could see my mom finding my body wide-eyed
limp, cold and lifeless. I could feel her silent
scream in my bones. Her imagined devastation
forced the knife back where it came from.
The second time I was just legal to drive
the world just beyond the windshield.
But the loneliness; the pain I cannot name
was growing inside me, a plant I kept watering.
I grabbed a mechanical pencil repeatedly
stabbing my wrist hoping I would penetrate skin
tearing tendons and veins. My brothers ran downstairs
to play video games stopping and staring at me.
I ran away to place I could be alone.
I just turned twenty-one the third time.
Everything I had ever felt was held inside,
like a Pepsi can rolling down a rocky hill.
exploding in my lungs, fizzing up my throat
until I was choking on bubbles
and leaving was easier than staying.
I broke down in my dorm rocking
like a broken fetus. My roommate
held my wrists from my mouth,
so I wouldn’t chew them like a dog with shoes.
The next day, the first psychiatrist told me,
I had the lows to be considered bi-polar
but not the highs. For the next year and a half
I ingested a mix of drugs to keep my canines at bay.
The last time I wanted to die
It had been two years since I swallowed a pill
My life had no direction. I wasn’t writing.
I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t laughing.
I was stuck. Another sleepless night.
Staring at the ceiling, praying for sleep
I saw the bed soaking the life from me
my wrist dangling over the edge.
I saw myself as dead because at that point
I might as well have been. I rolled off my pillow
slept on the hardwood floor found another
psychiatrist who brewed a different potion
I have been drinking ever since.
There are no scars where knifes wanted to cut.
I do not wear my attempts to die like a medal
of honor on my wrist. This doesn’t make it
any less real. I know what it feels like to free-fall.
To fantasize about jumping the guard rails
driving engine first into a redwood.
I have felt the cold hand of depression
hold my cheek. I have let the monsters
hold my heart in their mouth. I watched
as the pulse slowed, slobber ran down my arteries.
I have tattoos where scars should be.
Speak – for strength. Write – for sharing my stories.
Even the one’s I have not boxed up.
The ones that are still barking at my door.
Because there is no running away
from holding a knife to your wrist
from stabbing yourself with a mechanical pencil
from chewing your own veins
or seeing yourself as dead.
Today I wrote a list of all my reasons to live.
To marry my someday best friend.
To laugh so hard I fall to the ground.
To see my childs smile.
To finally have abs.
To watch wrinkles of my past iron into my skin.
To scream ‘I am enough’ at the sunset.
To carry the weak across this black tar world.
To run a marathon.
To carve my story on my bones.
To absorb this world in the pours of my lungs.
To motivate a new generation to keep moving forward.
To beam with the moon on the darkest nights.
To blossom like a rose.
To chance everything’s going to work out fine.