Jennifer Anne Moses | October 15, 2019
When I was in high school, I decided that because on the one hand there wasn’t anything else that I could possibly think of doing for a living, and on the other I needed to find a way to be beloved and famous without ever having to do anything dreary like make a living, I’d be a writer. So that’s what I did, and I kept doing and doing and doing until, bit by bit, when people asked me, “What do you do?” I could say something other than, at first, “I change diapers,” and then, “a lot of carpool,” and finally, “I sit in front of a computer all day trying not to slit my wrists.” One oughtn’t make jokes about suicide, but I figured that because joking about it is better than doing it, it was OK if I allowed myself various permutations of suicide metaphors when describing how I spend most of my waking hours.
And that’s because, at least in part, writing is so central to my very being that when I can’t do it, when the words don’t flow and, instead of walking away, I write endless amounts of pretty, puffed-up, poetic bullshit, I feel like my soul is dying. Also, suicide for me isn’t really an abstraction so much as a phantom, something I can sense but never really catch hold of from the corner of my eye. As a kid, I spent a lot of time thinking about it, both for its efficacy in ending my own misery and as a giant eff-you to my family, in keeping with my adolescent narcissism. Instead of ingesting a bottle of aspirin, though, I got help, which in turn provided me with enough ballast to pursue my dreams, such that by the time, in the summer of 2014, when my brother remarked that at times he was so down that he understood the attraction of suicide, I’d long since attained enough common sense to simply listen.
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