Author: Norlita Brown
Title: Mind My Feelings
The belt was pressed tightly around my thorax. I didn’t know the medical term then, all I knew is that if I held on tight enough, soon it would be over. My eyes felt like they were bucking, my head seemed to be losing oxygen. I was nearing the finish line, though I was coherent enough to see my sisters come into the room and laugh at the spectacle before them. When they realized it was no laughing matter they ran for help. My mother’s friend ran up to our bedroom and immediately began prying my hands from the belt. He was strong but my will was stronger. I was determined to put an end to this tragedy. Life kept dishing me meals I wouldn’t serve to my worst enemy so now, I was dishing one back. No longer would anyone have me around to taunt, tease or ridicule. I refused to be the brunt of another joke gone wrong. Taking matters into my own hands also meant that I had succumbed to taking my life. Suicide was my only option. He was relentless, he wouldn’t stop. I suppose part of me didn’t want him to. Maybe I didn’t want to die. Maybe this wasn’t an attempt to lose my life but to save it. I gave in and loosened my hands from the belt. I had tried in so many ways to let them know that their words hurt; the pain was unbearable for me. I was a KID! For crying out loud, how much do you expect me to handle? How strong do you want me to be when all I hear is negative things? I have no friends, no family to show me they care. What do you want from me? My brain was screaming questions my mind didn’t have the strength to answer. I wanted to be happy, live a normal life, but they didn’t want me to have it. Not without changing who I was or who I wanted to be.
SUICIDE. Our children are taking their life in their own hands and calling it quits - giving up on life so soon. Then there are those who aren’t young and have decided now is the time. Why do we feel this way? Yes, I said we. I have been where they are. I have been where many are wishing to be. It’s not pretty; in fact it’s an ugly sight to behold. Suicide is what we’re not looking at; we are not trying to understand what could put someone in a mindset to want to end their life. How many tragedies must one suffer before they fold? Many strong-willed and determined people look down on those of us who attempt suicide or worse, succeed. But I must ask very honestly, have you ever suffered what we have? Should there even be a comparison? If your shoulders are built to carry boulders and mine can barely hold pebbles, am I flawed? Isn’t that the very reason that suicide is so prevalent? The judgment of others.
There is a wonderful collection of poetry out right now where two young teenagers discuss an array of subjects but amongst them is suicide. They are talking about it in the thick of the moment. It is what our children are facing right now. Unspoken, Barely Written: A Teenage Torment is a must read. It can help so many teenagers understand that the problems they have are not theirs alone, but there are others who are enduring the very same thing. It can show them that there is another way out – to write about it and speak about it. Push forward to make change. Being silent, doing nothing or worse taking your life only allows the issues to fester for the next generation. Within this same book is a poem by Toni Hodges that is truly one of my favorites. She’s not discussing suicide within it but the depth of her words gives meaning and understanding to the things we take for granted.
They're just feelings:
My clumsy emotions falls out of their hiding place.
Disheveled scattered before you.
Stepping over them you say "they're just feelings"
Well, these feelings were once buried deep
in a place no one had yet to discover,
until you came and drained them in array
My soul crept out of its cave and shone a light on you
A light you drowned with darkness
Uncontrollably I stumbled into your hands
But you let me fall along with these emotions
Now here I am gathering them in a pile
Attempting to find them a better home
While you repeat “They're just feelings"
I thank God that I can now say that I’m stronger; that those thoughts left me in my teen years. But there are so many who are dealing with this tragic state daily. How can you help? First things first. As it has always been said, there is no better place to begin than with YOU. If, and I say if because it doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are a person who uses others as your form of entertainment then stop it! By this I mean, are you looking at someone and ridiculing them publicly because they have decided to be different than you are? Embrace their need to identify with themselves uniquely; stop trying to box them into your identity. Watch how a person reacts and responds to your jokes, if they are quiet or give a look of hurt in any form then you may want to do something to counteract the pain you just caused because you have no idea what else they may be dealing with. So rather than becoming the last straw, make every effort to become the first step to their healing. If you are not the jokester but you see that someone is going through some things that are too tough for them to handle, elect to be their friend. Elect to give them hope. Elect to save a life. If you are someone in need of someone to talk to, you can reach out to me or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by dialing (800) 273-TALK (8255).