When I was 14 years old I had the best pen pal a girl could ask for. I would write letters to her and every time without fail I would include the baby names I currently liked. We would talk about our lives and for me, it was a time to be proud of the life I was living. For a brief moment I could be happy on paper.
Everything seems to always go back to my mother. Her death. After nearly 8 years without her presence, I still find an excuse to bring her into any and every situation. Like now.
I will be honest. I think everyone has suicidal thoughts at least once in their lifetime. I know I did. When I was 14 years old I took a knife from the kitchen and set it on my bed. I stared at it for at least an hour. Thoughts raced through my mind. I was dealing with so many things. My father and his lover. Their relationship seemed so much bigger than me and my needs. My sister who had her own life, that rarely included me. And not only the loss of my mother, but her entire family – or so it seemed. I wanted to take the knife and slit my wrists and be done. I didn’t want to have to face the future, and the past was so unpleasant to even think about reliving. The knife seemed to big and impossible to easily do what I had planned to do for an hour. I thought of getting a razor, but then the object didn’t seem so important anymore — just the outcome of the action.
I’m obviously here to this day. So you might ask what stopped me? What stops any of us from committing this cry for help? This need for attention. This problem solver. This cowardly act. This attempt of suicide? Whatever you choose to call it, what keeps us living? What triggers us to breathe?
I had to write her back. I don’t know if I ever sent that letter to my pen pal, but that didn’t matter. All I remember is I began to write and write until I couldn’t write anymore. I wrote as if someone somewhere was listening and caring. I wrote as if I was something to somebody and I couldn’t just disappear. I found a purpose to live, no matter how small — I survived.
For the longest time it was about surviving. But now I find myself living.
My pen pal was my cousin, Jessiney. We are 1 year and 2 months apart. We are close in age. But what’s more important is that we’ve grown closer as friends and as cousins.
Jess moved down here to Logan at the end of May this year and spent her time working her butt off until October. She expressed to me that she felt like she had “lost herself”. She was depressed and reminded me a lot of myself in the past. I tried giving her advice, but mostly I just tried to be an escape for her. Her living situation wasn’t ideal and it was getting harder and harder for her to keep going. She eventually moved back home and I was, to be honest, sad. I felt like I was losing her all over again. But I think this move has made us stronger and closer. We talk on the phone almost every night for hours at a time. I have never felt close to any girl before like I have with Jessiney. I’ve known her all my life, but we are just now understanding each other and truly getting to know one another. I wrote a little letter a while back that I never gave her and I guess I was waiting for the right time, so here it goes:
I’ve been debating on how to tell you this, but there was a time when I lost myself too. You’ve been talking about how you “lost yourself” and I guess it didn’t click for me until now. I think we all go through our gown stages of development at different times of our lives. I had no other choice but to develop quicker than the rest of my friends growing up. I almost felt like an adult when I started high school and for most of it I was. But I tried to be “normal”. I tried to be someone else and pretended I lived a different life. I would make my life seem so much better than it really was to all my other friends. In your case you appear and feel like you don’t know who you are as a person and that is what I went through as well. I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to kill the person I thought I could never be or would always be. It was a very confusing time of my life. But the fact that I pushed myself to believing I was Something to Somebody was what got me through. I don’t know if you’ve had suicidal thoughts, but I just want you to know if you ever get that low like I did — I hope you know you are something to me. You are more than just something, you are everything. Jess, I don’t know how to picture my life without you. I always knew I liked you, but these past few months I am certain that I love you. ( I know that sounds funny:) You are kind and generous. You are hilarious and confident. You are a hard worker, and stronger than you give yourself credit for. I’ve enjoyed our time living in the same town as each other to get to know you, and I look forward to getting to know you even more — and I pray we’ll always be in each others lives. You have showed me what joy is. I am thankful for you. I love you Jessiney Ruth.
I wrote that letter just before she moved back to home. I’m not usually good with words in public. But give me a paper and a pen and I usually do an okay job expressing myself. I just hope she knows how much I admire her. She’s my best cousin. Not to say all my other cousins aren’t equally important to me. We just get each other and I can call her up without any other reason but just because I wanted to. I love you Jess.