I’ve always told this story in pieces; never giving someone the chance to put it all together and figure out the big picture. There’s a line in the book The Things They Carried that goes “What I should do, she'll say, is put it all behind me. Find new stories to tell.” I should just put the past behind me and let myself move on, stop talking about it like it defines who I am. But- I haven’t told myself the full story yet, and I can’t let go of something I haven’t fully put together yet.
So before I move on, and finally accept what’s happened for what it is like I need to, I’ll put it all together for the first time, and tell the whole story.
I killed myself for the first time when I was thirteen years old. The murder weapon was a pair of scissors and the word “short.” People talk about transitioning like it’s an easy thing, ya know? Just restrict your breathing, hunch your shoulders, avoid speaking, you’re fine. You’re a boy no matter what they tell you. You are loved.
You are a narcissistic asshole who hates himself. You are not loved.
I tried to kill myself again when I was fifteen. It was the summer after my freshman year and I was disappointed in myself for not succeeding the first time. The scars on my arms, and the burning in my fingers when I’m around sharp objects, reminds me that I’ve never been brave enough to succeed. That I never will be.
Deep breaths, smooth sailing.
You are okay.
Satisfactory but not exceptionally or especially good.
Okay is all you remember how to be. Continue the story, don’t panic yet.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder around the age of fourteen. I went to therapy for it, just for a little while. My therapist gave me a task- a way to cope with it. I turned the illness into a person of sorts. His name was FACE. He was everything I hated about myself. I found him being associated with the version of myself from 2014, before I came out and began transitioning. You’d think he’d be a girl, then, huh? I thought so too, but I think what I hated most about myself was that I was a boy. (That I felt like one, at least.) This diagnosis, and the creation of FACE, turned into the second suicide. It scared me at first, but I got used to it. I found ways to cope- I wrote down everything negative, and labeled it in red. Anything in red was his, not mine. Every negative word, every curse or scream or pain was his. I was fine.
There’s a lot of lost time between the first time and the latest suicide; time I don’t remember, or don’t want to remember. There was a lot of confusion, and changing of mind. I don’t remember who I was then, and I think that’s part of why I never told this story to anyone in full. However, none of this really has any significance; it’s just backstory for the real point of the essay - A thank you letter, three years late. A thank you letter to the version of me from 2014 that turned into FACE.
I should’ve written this when I still allowed myself to remember everything I had to say, but I didn’t. So I’ll try and write this letter as best I can with what I still remember of the story.
I wanted to thank you, but also apologize? For taking everything from you before you even knew it could happen. We’re hurting lately, in a lot of ways. We keep telling ourself it’ll get easier, but it hasn’t yet. Maybe we just can’t remember when it was harder? (That’s not true, we always remember)
I should formally apologize before I thank you, it looks nicer on paper that way.
I’m sorry for - hell, everything?
I’m sorry you’ll never be a mom, or a grandmom, or a wife, or anything. I’m sorry you’ll never be proud of who you are, or what you create. I’m sorry you’ll end up hating yourself. I’m sorry you’ll end up hurting yourself because of me. I’m sorry for ruining you and still trying to make the best of the situation when I know this isn’t what you wanted. This isn’t what I wanted either. I’m sorry for the relationships I ruined, for the friends I drove away, for the distance between you and your parents- I’m sorry for everything. I made things so much harder for you later on and I’m so sorry. Things could’ve been so easy for you. It could’ve been so simple if I’d just kept my fucking mouth shut.
I’m sorry I can’t make it better. I’m sorry I can’t prepare you, or make it easier, because I’m struggling with it just as much as you are.
I renamed you, and changed who you were. You’ll grow to loath your birth name and every word from your parents will send you spiraling downwards all over again and remind you of what I took away and I’m sorry.
But - I wanted to thank you. For letting it happen, for not giving up, for suffering with me.
For that year you told me to kill myself, and I nearly listened. For letting me change your name again because I didn’t want to think about being the one saying any of that. For the depression, and anxiety, and sleepless nights. For making things just as difficult for me as I made them for you. I took everything from you and you showed me what that felt like. So, thank you, for the disconnected emotions and shaky hands and absolute hell you put me through. I deserved it. I still do, but I’ve learned to shut you out. I’ve found it’s easier to do when I stopped caring.
I used to think dying was hard. It sounded painful, not just for the person who was dying but for the people they knew. Then I stopped caring. I stopped worrying about what would happen to everyone else, and I realised dying wasn’t that hard at all. I’ve always just been scared of making things harder than they needed to be.
So thank you, for making it easier to stop caring. When I realised I was too concerned about other people, I stopped worrying so much.
Things are better for us now. I hope they’ll stay that way.
You have to let them stay that way.