i was listening to a podcast of this american life called 'say anything.' anyone from the 80's remember john cusack as lloyd dobler in that iconic scene where a young man figures out what to do to tell his beloved how he feels. but this isn't about 80's films or about love per se, it's about the first part of that broadcast, it's about failure to thrive.
i read the description for the broadcast and listened anyway. i have had many fears and conquered most of them when i moved from san diego almost six years ago.
what am i trying to say? what am i trying to relate? i haven't had suicidal thoughts since i was a hormonal teenager and thought that calling one of my aunts after i swallowed a bottle of tylenol would free me. because deep down inside i wanted it to get back to my mother one way or another, after the fact. or so i thought.
clearly, i never really wanted to die. here i am a mother, a woman, here in this plane of existence listening to npr and hearing a man's failed attempt at suicide. his glibness on par with a man describing how he struck out with that hot redhead at the bar last saturday night as if it's something that happens on a regular basis.
but in this case it does happen on a regular basis. you learn that his mother committed suicide and his father had learned to fill the space of two parents. yet, the memory of mother and her final achievement ring heavy on his mind, the flatness of how he describes that he didn't take enough morphine to do the job is frightening and you finally learn that he succeeds at his master plan.
clearly, i am affected by this for many reasons. unlike the narrator of the story, i had no knowledge of my friend's intentions (ron), i had thought that another friend had intentions when it was just a writing assignment with no preface in the email (heath).
i am affected by the hopelessness, the eventuality, the realizations that come years after the fact, the finality.
yet, with all of this the suicide of a friend, the cancer that kills your parents, the minutes of momentary despair when you see your past in the present of your only child, you know. you, literally, learn to use the bullshit of life, the waste, the fertilizer to live, to grow. to remain here and let something positive live, you eventually learn to thrive.
there are plenty of saccharine, kitschy signs to buy reminding you to 'bloom where you're planted.' but while a sign on the wall may something cute it's the look in your eyes that speaks volumes about what you've survived to your family and friends closest to you and those on the street who'll never see you again.
i learned a long time ago that hormones change faster than the weather and that if you take the bullshit from your life and put it to good use you can thrive anywhere. but you have to want to.
it would be nice if that was the legacy my child chose to pass on to her future children but i am also quite comfortable with the fact that my child will most likely pass on that i am a hysterical nerd. which means that i have plenty of time to decide what color light saber earrings to wear when my grandchildren come to visit or whether we should only speak wookie during thanksgiving dinner twenty years from now.