It’s been a while since I’ve felt the darkness clawing at my soul, since I’ve struggled against the suffocated night while clutching desperately to the last life in me that silently sets.
This morning I stared into an abyss I had long thought banished from my life as I contemplated ending it all. The crushing weight of who I must free crashed against the loved ones I must hurt. I felt the tear inside myself as pain battled against heartbreak, as my crystal clarity was engulfed in a swirling maelstrom of confusion.
It started innocently with my wife asking me to “be a boy” for a breakfast out we had planned this morning. Within moments clouds had rolled in over my countenance and I could feel a churning deep in my core. I felt sick, dizzy and could not imagine another moment pretending to be a man. In a panicked anxiety I saw all the many days ahead of me that I would need to fill with lies and deception. All the many months still to come that I must hide who I am, and for just a moment felt the only release would be in taking my own life.
The deepest darkness passed soon after, but the threatening thunder clouds still darken my day. I cannot live without hurting those I care about the most. Yet to keep them from harm would mean I could no longer exist. The only way forward is through the valley. I may lose all I have – my friends, my family, my livelihood and my possession, yet the alternative is to lose all I could ever have. To forfeit any hope and promise for the future. I hear Jesus’ words echo within me, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:25)
Goodbye, Darkness, My Old Friend,
You know that’s not the way I’ll end.
P.S. For those of you who are seriously contemplating suicide I strongly encourage you to read an article I wrote about transgender suicide, and to get professional help as soon as possible. Before you do anything, call the folks at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – their number is 1-800-273-8255.
I’ve stood many a time before the chasm with my eyes closed ready to jump. And just as often I’ve found joy and promise in my life at having stepped away. As I quoted a song when recalling Esprit 2010:
You don’t know how tall you stand until you fall,
That’s what valleys are for.
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