Excuse Me, This is Hard to Talk About

Back in the day, man, I’d talk death and suicide and hopelessness all day long, without feeling a thing.  I actually ENJOYED it.

Now?  I feel icky.  Seriously.  I’ve been blogging about suicide, I’ve been talking about suicide, and it makes me feel icky because part of me doesn’t want to even bring it up.  I’ve changed.  I want to talk about how great Lynyrd Skynyrd is, or how cute kittens are, or puppies, or how I loved watching Star Wars when I was a kid.  I’d pour over my Star Wars memorabilia and it filled me with such excitement, such longing, such power.  For an eight-year-old boy, back in the day, Star Wars was magic.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still talk about death and suicide and hopelessness, but inside, it just feels wrong.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I’m letting the world in on my secret, that I’ve had such a hard time with life—stupid, regular, boring, everyday, inane life.  Getting up, brushing my teeth, going to work, it all feels so hard.  I don’t want it to.  I want to celebrate life because it is so very, very short.  So very, very temporary.  But I forget.

Another reason why I don’t want to talk about suicide is that people have had friends, relatives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers kill themselves, and if I bring it up, I might hurt them.  I worry about that a lot.

A bigger fear is that part of me is afraid if I talk about suicide, I might give people the idea that it’s okay.  It’s not okay.  Not at all.  Suicide and okay don’t even live in the same country.  Like I’ve said before, suicide is a form of murder, the person kills themselves and kills a part of everyone around them.  It’s a nuclear bomb going off in a family.  And radiation poisons everyone long after the fact.

So I’m afraid that, by talking about it, I’m spreading suicidal cheer like a demented Johnny Appleseed.  That’s in the book, one of my favorite lines.

I keep thinking about what one of my characters says to the depressed JD, the hero of LONG LIVE THE SUICIDE KING.  She says, “You don’t get to talk about suicide without there being consequences.”

And she’s right.  I only hope that people who’ve had the dark thoughts, that me talking about it, that this book I wrote, might let them know they aren’t alone.  I’ve been suicidal.  I am not suicidal anymore.  In fact, most days, I kinda enjoy life.

There is hope.  We can change.  There is help.

One good thing about life?  Music?  When I hear a song, and that song hits me in just the right way, like Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”, it’s like a Star Wars moment.  For a minute, the world is magical, I feel powerful.  There is a mystery to this life thing, a profound mystery I’m going to chase, I’m going to experience, and that I love.

Life is sweet.

The Terror Factory and the Fear Inventory: Step Four Continued

Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

I think the number one issue that affects writers more than any other emotion is fear. Blind, raging fear. And in the writing world, well, being fearless is a necessity. Or at least finding the courage to walk through our fears. That can be rough.

However, if we really examine our fears, a lot of the time we can see they are unreasonable or completely unwarranted. So this is why I think the heart of the 4th step is the fear inventory. The “grudge list”, or resentment inventory gives us our fears laid out right down the line because a lot of the time fear hides itself as resentments, but not always.

I start my fear inventory with all the fears I have with resentments. And then I lay them out on paper. Here are the columns.

Fear History of Fear Self-Reliance Failed Me Please Marching Orders
Name the fear. Write down a brief history of the fear. In what ways have I tried to deal with the fear myself with no help from the Divine? Ask the Divine to remove this fear. What are my marching orders? What kind of person does the Divine want me to be?


In this way, we can see the roots of the fear and then how we’ve tried to deal with the fear. Generally, I try and ignore the fear, hoping it will go away. Typical man. No, I won’t go to the doctors, I’m fine. My compound fracture will heal if I just ignore it.

What’s interesting for me is that a lot of fears have no history. I have an overactive imagination so I can imagine the horrible things but generally, they never come to pass. Other fears have roots in my childhood. The world can be cruel to a child. And kids can be downright evil to the people around them.

Now, I have a hard time with the “God” idea, so I used the Divine. For me, it carries less weight than God. The Divine also seems bigger, more unknowable, and will this Divine Other help me? I don’t know. But I can pretend it can. Why not?

So I ask the Divine to remove my fear and then I get my marching orders. What kind of person does the Divine want me to be?

This is the meat of the whole inventory process. What is my ideal around this area? And then how I can strive for that ideal?

Next week I’ll take the fear I had from my resentment example and we’ll inventory it together. Never alone. Never again.