I speak on behalf of all the colored girls who have considered suicide and had to keep it to themselves. Cuz, nobody understands. Nobody wants to. One way or another though, we’re gonna face this truth. So on behalf of us, you all who fall apart every day and have that “strong” friend you love so much: You’re exhausting.
At best, you’re selfish. You’ve gotten so used to the little routine of them saying they’re good so that when you look yourself in the mirror you can say to yourself, At least I asked, right? Is that why some people cry so hard when that person they “never expected” commits suicide?
Here’s something you don’t know about me because you’re too busy waiting your turn to talk about the confused debacle that is your daily life.
I’ve wanted to be dead.
Not kill myself, just be dead. I’ve always thought I was way to religious for suicide. But I’ve wished that Jesus could grant me a favor and just take me with him. I figured being suicidal was not the same as wanting to be dead. I was wrong.
The first time I can truly remember was at 16. I gave a brief overview of this story in my post mentioned this in my post about The Church, Black Women, and Forgiveness Indoctrination. What I didn’t mention is that I lost my virginity to this person. Before him, I was saving myself for marriage. The man I gave my body to was a young minister in the church, had been having an inappropriate relationship with someone younger than I, and everybody knew about it for a while but me. For a long time. And even when I knew, I didn’t know the truth.
He Used “God” to destroy me
During our relationship, he used fake suicide contemplations to control me. He lied to me about literally everything. By the time my 1.68 GPA came through after that first semester in college, I was in over my head. He finally told me Jesus said he could no longer talk to me on any level and was angry with him. Terrified 17 year old me. His so-called directive from above started to sound even funkier when he suggested that he wanted to “close the chapter” and sleep with me one last time. I came home after that year of college broken, empty, and confused. He was parading around with a whole other girl. I sat in that same church, watching him in the pulpit, contemplating real-life murder. I didn’t feel safe talking about it to anyone. And I just wanted God to end my misery and take me home.
I remember again feeling this way when I got back rejection after rejection for Ph.D. programs.
All things considered, I just wasn’t a good fit because I didn’t cast my eggs in the right baskets and I didn’t know the politics behind the process. I didn’t know how to play my cards. But I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t want to understand this at the time. My whole life I was told that I was brilliant and should embody that at all times. My whole identity was God and school. I prayed to God about school, wanted God to help me be good at school, wanted To get this PhD because that’s what brilliant people do. And then these schools tell me they don’t want me.
For the first time in my life, I realized that I didn’t have an identity outside of this career trajectory. My understanding of self was defined by my pursuit of the professorship and I didn’t have a Plan B. Didn’t believe I needed a Plan B. I trusted God to take me through the journey so I didn’t consider anything else. I was supposed to be good at things the first time. My parents, lol, they didn’t understand nor adequately support me through those rejections. I couldn’t see the point in my living, yet I couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it.
Parents just don’t understand
I remember crying my face off to my parents regarding the lack of support and involvement in my school life. The look of shock on my dad’s face was incredible. The cold look of annoyance on my mother’s face was repulsive. I remember begging my mom to understand that I needed to consider the school in Atlanta because I needed this thing to work out. And in short… she turned her back on me. She didn’t want to have to respect my decisions. And she didn’t appreciate me calling her out on this lack of support. She felt attacked. I wanted to die.
Atlanta itself was a year of wishing I was dead and feeling trapped in knowing I couldn’t do anything about that. And ion wanna talk about it anymore. But you’re more than welcome to review my early posts about the experience, here.
I live two lives.
My family actually has no idea who I really am. The ratchet I am on my blog and some forms of social media don’t exist when I’m sleeping in Canarsie. They’ve depended on me to have it all together and plow through accomplishments and that’s how it’s always been. I was in Gifted and Talented programs in school. They don’t know what it looked like for me not to achieve. They don’t ever expect it nor accept it when I don’t.
My dad, God Bless his heart. He can be real surface level sometimes in ways that don’t shock me anymore. Skipped home with my 98 (out of 100) on my English Regents final exam in high school. His response to my score? Where are the other two points?? Me just genuinely not knowing the answer to a two-point question didn’t make sense to him.
Dealing In Spite of
I’m owed a lot of apologies I don’t ever expect to get:
For ignoring my needs because I produced good grades, expecting me to pull weight without additional support, and putting their parenting of me on autopilot just because I could still zombie my way through life. They know what they haven’t done. They know what they need to do. I catch the guilt in the attempts to reach out that just don’t reach far enough. But I let them have it. Because I get limitations. I get human nature. I get learning as you go along. But I’m 23. And I live with the effects of these shortcomings every day. And they still benefit from my strength when I’m called upon for the advice and the listening ear I never got. I love them. But I’m resentful. So I drink. Because the liquor understands how I prefer to feel.
Someday, I want to have the courage to confront the people in my life with my demons.
A therapist once told me that I “expect too much” from the people around me; how I desired to be understood is a laborious task that few had patience for. I started to believe her too.
But I deserve to be understood and appreciated for all the life I pour into other people who don’t pour into me. While a couple posts ago I shaded a particular young man heavily, he’s the first person I ever dealt with on a romantic or personal level who invested time and energy into understanding me and what I need and want. He’s always said I’m worth breaking through the walls and dealing with my difficulty because what I offer is priceless. And now I’m sure about not accepting anything less.
I share these feelings because people are conveniently surface level with their “strong” friends, family member, partner.
If you don’t feel guilty, I haven’t done my job here. You should feel guilty. My expectation is not that you be tormented with mistakes of overlooking that person in the past. But you should feel guilty enough to change. You just never know what someone is dealing with, and we often don’t know because we do not ask. If you can’t think of who someone would go to if they were falling apart, that go-to person probably does not exist for their them. You have work to do.