Friday, June 15, 2012

Why I am Still Alive

In exactly four weeks I will turn 38. I will have officially lived 20 years longer than I had planned on. It will also mark the 8th anniversary of the day I decided I wanted to live.

“That’s a little over-the-top, hey, Drama Queen.” I know that’s what you’re thinking. Hell, it’s what I am thinking. I detest Past-Me and the person I used to be.

I know what stopped me from killing myself in the summer of 1992. I decided to live for someone else who really needed me to take care of myself. I didn’t do that well, but I really tried. I tried harder at that than almost anything I had ever tried at up to that point. We got through it. I made good choices then, and I have absolutely no regrets. But I didn’t really land on my feet. I made some awful choices after that.

I followed that up with more terrible choices, the worst kind of choices and finally started to move forward with merely bad choices. My choices got less bad over time, until the week before my 30th birthday. I had received some rather devastating news with regard to my health, I was unemployed, I was off-again with the guy I had been on-again with for the better part of a year, I was living with my ex-boyfriend who was trying to get me to snap out of it and being super unhelpful about it, and I had never, ever, felt more alone in my adult life.
I started planning. I started trying to figure out a way to die that would inconvenience the least amount of people. I started writing wills. I started listening to Portishead, Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan (The Triumvirate of the Suicidal Female).

A friend I used to have on the internet sent me a birthday package which included
I'm the One That I Want
. Margaret Cho spoke to me... DIRECTLY TO ME... when she said:

I am not gonna die because I failed as someone else. I am gonna succeed as myself. And I'm gonna stay here and rock the mike until the next Korean-American, fag hag, shit starter, girl comic, trash talker comes up and takes my place!

I was in tears. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed my heart out there in my roommate’s bed, because the only TV in the house was in his room. I did not stop crying for 20 or 30 minutes.

I am not gonna die because I failed as someone else.

The very next morning, on my 30th birthday, two people I knew only from the internet and had never met in person conspired to have me woken up by the floral arrangement delivery man. A bouquet of 4 amazing star-gazer lilies and other flowers arrived at my door. I cried some more.

That is the moment I decided that
shit just HAD to change. I got a sucky job that I turned into a slightly better one by October of that year. I dated some. I went back on-again with the guy I had been off-again with and we did that off and on thing for a few more months, until I finally decided I just didn’t want to do that anymore. I was finally making good choices.

A twenty-year-old choice and Margaret Cho are the reasons why I am alive today, for better or worse. I’ll admit that there are times, especially when I think about how MS has changed my life and how it is probably going to steal everything I love about my life in the not-so-distant future that I regret making that decision. The two people I love the most wouldn’t even know me if I had and there wouldn’t be a whole lot of people in the world who would miss me at all.

But I’m here and, though I make better choices these days, I am still trying to figure out what the point of it all is. I don’t have a career. I have a boring life with a man I adore. I’m 25 lbs overweight but I have good skin and pretty good hair. I listen to electronic music and do cross stitch. I write words sometimes. I erase or fail to save most of them. I have MS. It has stolen many of the things I used to love.

I’m almost never happy. But I am hopeful that someday I will succeed as myself.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you made those choices and glad I got a chance to you, you brighten many days for me :)