Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Dear Vincent, This is what the Dead Inside Man says about killing yourself.

Dear Vincent,

This is what the Dead Inside Man says about killing yourself. Last fall, along with the Married Man, the Dead Inside Man was one of my texting boyfriends, following five to seven solid fucks and leg humps in Toronto. The Dead Inside Man has been seeing the same therapist one to two times per week for 31 and a half years. One rainy day, I sent him a blubbering text as I blubbered in my red rain coat after a session with you last October or November of 2016. It didn’t like the system I’d come up with for dealing with my organism and with me life could ever be made viable. And whatever it would take to reprogram the system, I certainly did not have. Also I’d awoken that day between three and four o’clock in the morning. For whatever reason.

This is what the Dead Inside Man texted back:

As someone who has stood on a bridge, contemplating suicide more times than I can count, I keep coming to the same conclusion: just keep going a bit longer because why not.

T’es important. Suicide n’est pas une option. That’s what it says on a poster along the hallway that leads to your windowless office. You are important. Suicide is not an option.

“I’m sorry, but it is an option.” That’s what you, Vincent, said on Thursday, January 4, 2015, two years after my ex-ex boyfriend Simon threw himself off his 23-story apartment building and died in a parking lot between Coloniale and de Buillion street, just north of Sherbrooke. “But it leaves a fucking mess for whoever gets left behind.” Blood on the pavement and an excruciating silence. Everyone always says something about this mess, but they forget that the mess is never just one person’s fault.

Dead Inside Man:

You can do whatever you want with your life.

You owe no one anything.

If you want to travel the world you can. If you want to live on the street you can.

If you want to commit suicide, you can.

But not all of it is easy.

The day that you admitted that suicide was an option, I knew that I could trust you. Last Saturday evening, I went to a meditation class and as I sat in the circle, it occurred to me that almost absolutely the teacher to my left had thought about killing themself. Who meditates without thinking about this? The only solution is to pretend that you’re too busy. Build your plastic empire, build your plastic house. Build your plastic house which soon enough will float away to the massive plastic continent somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where maybe some business savvy rich guy will try to build a condo development.

Dead Inside Man:

Getting better is hard.

Really hard sometimes.

And if you want to give up in a year or two years or five you can.

But it's worth trying to get better. The option is always there to quit.

Life is changing because now when I weep somewhat delicately at the stand-up corner of a popular café and I see the woman behind me has a full box of Kleenex and I ask if I can have one, she says yes and she does not bat an eye. In the new world, strangers offer Kleenex for your grief and they do not bat an eye. The people who weep somewhat delicately at cafes for no apparent reason are not quite aliens. Not anymore.

Dead Inside Man: Think of it like this: you're in a crowded theatre. You start to panic that you're trapped. You look to the exit and just knowing it's there fills you with reassurance.

Doesn't mean you're going to use it. Just means you like to know there's an escape.

Don't kill yourself. But don't beat yourself up for having suicidal thoughts."

For Simon just the exit sign wasn’t quite enough. We can be angry at him for leaving us with the image of him crashing down on the pavement. But the mess was not only his fault. Though he could have had one more good day, or even ten more mediocre to alright years, probably it wouldn’t have been enough. I respect his choice.

Stored on my phone, I keep screenshots of the Dead Inside Man’s texts.

Don’t kill yourself. But don’t beat yourself up for having suicidal thoughts.

In the new world, everyone knows all the options. And they bring Kleenex.

“Do you need one more before I leave?” asks the stranger as she put on her coat.

“Oh, I’m okay. Thank you,” I say. After she leaves, I weep delicately one last time, and then I trudge out. I remain in the income bracket of people who use toilet paper for Kleenex. But life is always changing. I know all my options and I love you. Outside the world looks so sunny and fresh. It is unimaginably cold, and, you’d think that the air would be so clean, but really it is not clean at all. No, in fact it is not clean at all.
I know all my options and I love you.

Send your letters to Vincent to ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.
Happy Face with Onesie.

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Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
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