By: September Max
Today, four years ago, I survived the most extreme, and, ultimately, the last suicide attempt I’ve made. Not sure how. Or why. But, here. Me. Now. Four years later.
The sun was brighter today. I didn’t notice until I did.
Four. That’s lifetimes ago. That’s different iterations of the same September Max on a vine turning into thick branches to hold the whole thing up like a canopy of twinkling facets of capital S Self. That’s more jobs than I’d like to remember. That’s more places I’ve lived than I’d care to admit. That’s this distance becoming ever expansive between being so scared and paralyzed, by what I later figured out was a mixed-manic episode, that I wanted to get the hell out of everything. Every. Thing.
Meaning life. Meaning listening to Sufjan’s “Carrie and Lowell” on repeat. Meaning the math was straight because I am nothing but precise about the important things’ meaning….
I woke up. I. Woke. Up.
And in my grasp were two cryptic pieces. And in my hand was the half pendant of life that you give up to Olmec so that your teammate continues through the hidden temple.
I sought treatment the next available Monday, and allegedly called while in that state, voice quavering and whole body shaking.
This was the most important phone call I’ve ever made.
Four years. I can’t count how much would have slipped away from me and into that endless cosmic ocean. I can’t fathom how many things I would have been furious to have missed out on.
I can’t tell you, reliably, how many times that I’ve felt that fear and trepidation again, and had to sit with it and remain, because one doesn’t get to dodge a laser-aimed bullet more than once, I imagine. But. I stay.
I stay. I wake up. I survive.
Every damn day that I greet the morning, regardless of what I’m fighting through, is another shot to follow Guy Debord’s advice – you don’t just show life to the people. You make. Them. Live. You make them live.
The part he left out is that it forces *you* to live. The part he left out is how makeup can be warpaint, and you can switch your vices for mostly virtues, and you can take your story and use it as a peer and a friend and an internet presence, and in mere months, starting the road to use it as a LCSW. The part he left out is that it makes you mindful of the small things. The tiny signs that there has to be something worth continuing this struggle for.
The little bouquet of fresh flowers I try to keep in my house.
“Something Borrowed” with the windows down and in the sunlight singing loudly enough to scare the dog in the car next to me.
The magic of free filet.
The enormity of Neyland [stadium] when you’re the only one on the field or the one in the highest lights.
The shrieking and crying over $10 thousand dollars from a pitch.
The look in oceanic eyes that don’t want to let you leave in the morning, and to be honest, you’re not keen on leaving either.
The curated boots and jackets and palettes.
The lights of film.
The shake shake of the bass when I’m exactly where I want to be in that moment, centro centro.
The people you’ve made a compact with to always, always save each other. Even if.
There has to be something worth it.
I meet folks who are the survivors of someone who succeeded, and I oft wonder what to say and how to say it right. The years have taught me it’s reflection and silence and respect that work best. I quietly wonder why I was missed with the halo in these times, and I collect those stories to amplify, so that the fire didn’t go out in vain. That there’s a way to carry these as an honor. As a gift. As the living. It’s the least i can do. Hold space. Be that receiver of memory.
And to you – all of you – thank you so much for your patience and your support over these living years. The space that remains is an amazing opportunity to make something out of our time, right? I believe in it.
I lived. I have to use that gift wisely.
Now, you, dear ones, I implore you to take that support and patience a step further. There are so, so, so many ways.
Contact your local suicide prevention network and learn about mental health first aid. What to look for. Have those resources ready for those who are slipping off that stiletto sharp edge, bloody palmed and hissing pain beneath every breath. Or those who are quietly arranging and waiting for the strike point. Fight the decision to repeal Obamacare entirely. Get educated on the conditions people in your life may be experiencing. If you too, survived, tell that story if you’re willing to be vulnerable and possibly spread hope that there’s something on the other side of this.
I am completely floored and humbled by the continued chances to find those little things.
A litany of reasons. A mantra of why this is worth it, day in and day out. The blessing to have the shot at an education. To reassemble kintsugi. Clean the wounds of others. To wake up. Volunteer. Hit my door on the “I will give my all to Tennessee today” sticker.
Here’s to continuing wherever the hell we’re going. Together.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
… and am forever and always yours, Knox Angeles.