Suicide is Painless…It Brings on Many Changes…
…and I can take or leave it if I please.
It was much easier to be an outsider at 25 than at 15. Not that it’s easy. Anxiety attacks, bipolar mood swings, a general inability to trust. There were still a lot of scars there. But there’s more perspective. Less drama. There’s coping mechanisms. There’s agency. And it’s gotten even easier at 28…I’m sure it’ll be easier still at 35.
At 15, I lacked those. At 15 I thought the best solution would be to set fire to my room and end my world in smoke and ash.
The fact that I’m here writing this post tells you that I failed. That detail’s not really important. Nor are the feelings about that particular incident. They’re for me and me alone.
No, what I’m writing about today is the process. The trail that leads to that day.
Being an outsider is never fun. You always end up on the lowest rung of the social ladder.
Not that this confers sainthood. My flaws are present enough, and keep me from martyrdom. I have the casual arrogance of the educated, the snobby attitude of the privileged and a sense of superiority that comes from….well I’m not sure where it comes from, but I’m inclined to think of myself as better than others. I can be anti-social and boorish, verbose and polemical, and just plain pedantical. I am, in the words of my best friends, an arrogant, conceited ass.
Which probably made me a better target.
I generally wasn’t interested in fitting in. Even as I”d move from city to city, school to school, I was okay with being myself. And that meant either being too Japanese for American peers, or too Americanized for my Japanese peers. I could’ve done better, I’m sure. Could’ve pretended one way or another.
Oh there were times when I tried. There’s a certain thrill to ganging up on someone else. Mocking them, going after them with the mob. It’s not just fun, it’s empowering. Especially when you’re an adolescent.
But in the end those times of playing along are…transitory. You deflect attention long enough for respite, then the harassment begins again. You find your gym clothes missing, only to find them in a drainage ditch. Your desk is vandalized. Things are thrown at you. You’re humiliated consistently in front of your peers. Derisive nicknames, a constant flood. It’s hard to get away.
At some point, you pull away. You look for other outlets of release. You yell at your parents, you tease your siblings. You coup up in your room and play video games all day. You become a recluse, hoping maybe they’d forget.
…then you go back, and find things even worse. For the time off has just made you an even bigger target.
At some point, it’s just too much. The world outside? You don’t want to go back. You know that’s not an option, so what else can you do? Then you see the stack of matches, the piles of books in your room and an idea flickers through…
…in the end, that’s a part of my life that I survived.
In a lot of ways, it was a good learning experience. I quit school, I left the country again, I traveled. I read, I experimented, I found what interested me.
I’m a long way from those days, and I’m a different person. And because of that, I’m okay with it. I understand the weaknesses of childhood. I know the cruelties. I can forgive that. And maybe there’s a bit of pity at my classmates. I look at where they’ve gone, what they’ve accomplished, and I wonder if they just wanted to feel smug for a little while longer. Before they felt their agency slip away.
This in all is a bit of a ramble. I apologize, I don’t know if I told a coherent story.
I see where I am now, and I wonder at the people who didn’t have my luck. Who didn’t have my resources, or my family….and my thoughts run cold.