Suicide.

I told myself I wasn't going to write this post. I've tried very hard to avoid this topic, because quite frankly, I'm over it. I'm very sick of thinking/talking/writing about it, but after everything that's happened this week both in my personal life and in the world, I can't avoid it any longer.

Photograph by Tibor Bozi / Redux

I'm sure most of you have heard that Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, was found dead in his home Thursday, having died of an apparent suicide. This news hit me pretty fucking hard. No, I didn't know him personally, but his music got me (along with millions of other people I'm sure) through my angsty, confusing, emotion-filled teenage years. Hybrid Theory was released when I was 9 and was on constant replay at home. And when the Collision Course EP with Jay-Z came out... I-CON-IC. So yeah, the death hit me pretty hard. But to hear that it was suicide hurt my heart in a way I can only attempt to put into words. 

I'm no stranger to suicide. If you know me, you more than likely know my story, if we're not formally acquainted, you can read about my yoga journey and find out more about my up close experiences. What some people may not know however, is that Mark and I had a suicide pact. He is dead; I am not. This is something I think about every. single. day. Literally. And not literally in the newfound, figurative, millennial sense of the word. Literally as in its most basic sense. Without metaphor or allegory. Don't get me wrong - I have attempted suicide numerous times, but for some reason or another I'm still here, chugging along, living life, trying to make the most of everything I can, slowly discovering my purpose and living my truth.

The guy I dated after Mark told me that once I turned 27 I'd officially be "too old" for him, and that he'd trade me in like a car for a newer model. I think he was joking, but he said it a little too often for it to feel like harmless fun. That was two years ago. I'm 26 now, a little less than 6 months shy of my 27th birthday and those words still stick with me. They cut through me like a rusty knife actually. I think about all the people who infamously died at 27 - Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison... I could continue, and this week especially I wonder, "Maybe 27 is the year of my demise." 

I don't share these feelings with anyone of course. I've talked about killing myself enough to know that it's not something you can just say (unless you wanna be 1013'd). But I think. And I think. And I continue to think. Then I turn on the news and see that someone whose lyrics meant so much to me growing up has taken his life. And the thought starts to settle in a little bit more.

"But Bri, you've worked so hard to get where you are! You're doing yoga, you're meditating, you're happier than I've ever seen you!" says the one person I feel I can safely confide in. And all those things are true. I'm happier than I've ever been. I finally graduated school. My career is on the rise. Great things are happening. But they aren't cures - especially if you've suffered from depression as long as I have, which to say is my entire life. 

Yoga isn't the cure that many people would have you believe. It helps, certainly, and it's a major part of my grieving and healing process. But asana practice on its own is not gonna do the trick. There are other forms of self care that can and should be taken. They vary from person to person, but make no mistake, they are there. And anyone who thinks otherwise is leading themselves down a very dangerous path. 

So what do I do? I do the yoga (on and off the mat) I meditate, I try to stay active and maintain a balanced diet, I create. Photography, paintings, music, poetry, it all helps. But sometimes it just isn't enough. Exploiting and manipulating my body and emotions for the sake of creation is draining. Feeling things that no one could ever possibly comprehend or reciprocate gets frustrating. Constantly ripping myself apart only to try to find new and interesting ways to put myself back together seems fun at first, but I'm sure even Humpty Dumpty had his limits. 

Every day I pour my whole heart into whatever is that I'm doing whether it's teaching a yoga class, training my clients, creating art that (seemingly) no one wants to look at, read, or listen to. Even when I'm doing or feeling nothing I do it with everything in me. 

I left home when my dad died at 17, and have never depended on anyone since. Then after Mark's death, I realized how truly alone I am in the world. And still, even though it's months away, I think about my birthday. I think about that ex. I think about how I'll be "too old". I think about how Mark should be living instead of me, and I question my whole existence. Other people have friends and family they lean on, I've always had myself. So I disappear. I restore. I put myself back together with gorilla glue instead of scotch tape. Maybe I come out the other side better than before, maybe I implode; either way I've got to find out. 

So for now I'm living, I'm thriving, I'm moving, I'm teaching, I'm missing my love, I'm sharing my story. And if you are (or have ever) experienced thoughts of suicide, hang in there. From someone who has the thought of killing herself every single day, I know it's easier said than done. Feel free to reach out to me, or even call the suicide hotline. (1-800-273-8255). 

We all owe it to ourselves to see how the story ends.

I REALIZED THAT I HAD DIED AND BEEN REBORN NUMBERLESS TIMES BUT JUST DIDN'T REMEMBER ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THE TRANSITIONS FROM LIFE TO DEATH AND BACK TO LIFE ARE SO GHOSTLY EASY, A MAGICAL ACTION FOR NAUGHT, LIKE FALLING ASLEEP AND WAKING UP AGAIN A MILLION TIMES, THE UTTER CASUALNESS AND DEEP IGNORANCE OF IT. I REALIZED IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF THE STABILITY OF THE INTRINSIC MIND THAT THESE RIPPLES OF BIRTH AND DEATH TOOK PLACE, LIKE THE ACTION OF THE WIND ON A SHEET OF PURE, SERENE, MIRROR-LIKE WATER. I FELT SWEET, SWINGING BLISS LIKE A BIG SHOT OF HEROIN IN THE MAINLINE VEIN; LIKE A GULP OF WINE LATE IN THE AFTERNOON AND IT MAKES YOU SHUDDER; MY FEET TINGLED. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE IN THE VERY NEXT MOMENT." ~ Jack Kerouac -   On The Road

I REALIZED THAT I HAD DIED AND BEEN REBORN NUMBERLESS TIMES BUT JUST DIDN'T REMEMBER ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THE TRANSITIONS FROM LIFE TO DEATH AND BACK TO LIFE ARE SO GHOSTLY EASY, A MAGICAL ACTION FOR NAUGHT, LIKE FALLING ASLEEP AND WAKING UP AGAIN A MILLION TIMES, THE UTTER CASUALNESS AND DEEP IGNORANCE OF IT. I REALIZED IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF THE STABILITY OF THE INTRINSIC MIND THAT THESE RIPPLES OF BIRTH AND DEATH TOOK PLACE, LIKE THE ACTION OF THE WIND ON A SHEET OF PURE, SERENE, MIRROR-LIKE WATER. I FELT SWEET, SWINGING BLISS LIKE A BIG SHOT OF HEROIN IN THE MAINLINE VEIN; LIKE A GULP OF WINE LATE IN THE AFTERNOON AND IT MAKES YOU SHUDDER; MY FEET TINGLED. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE IN THE VERY NEXT MOMENT." ~ Jack Kerouac - On The Road