Razors pain you
Rivers are damp
Acids stain you
And drugs cause cramp
Guns aren't lawful
Gas smells awful
You might as well live.
I was very sad to hear about the suicide of country singer Mindy McCready. I wasn't really a fan, I only know a couple of her songs, but I appreciated what I heard. To be honest, I knew more about her personal life, and demons, than I did about her talent. But just because I didn't know much about her talent, doesn't mean it didn't hurt when I heard she had died. We are so lucky to have talent as a part of what makes us... well... us. Those in the arts that share their gifts with the world, make every single day better on earth. No matter what's happening, the arts can help one begin to heal. I knew this for sure on the afternoon of September 11, 2001, when the Ethereal Musician, you know the sax player in my neighborhood, began to play America on his horn. The wasn't a sound outside. No birds seemed to be in the trees. No planes taking off from Oakland airport in the sky, no sounds of children playing. Everyone was inside, glued to the TV, all except for the musician... healing himself, and his neighbors, through music.
In the spring of 2001 I was in a bad place psychologically speaking. I was very near giving up. I wanted for it to just happen. A meteor hit me. An accidental case of extreme food poisoning. Get hit by a bus. Something. Anything that could just let me leave my life behind. Anything to make the pain stop. Honestly, I am not sure exactly why I am alive now, because at the time, I didn't do myself any favors. Depression and Anhedonia had a complete hold on me, and I was in so much pain, I couldn't feel anymore. I don't even really remember that time with Elvis. I was THAT disconnected. I was that way for about 2 years or so, then one day Alan got my cameras out, and said go find something new and I tried. Failed. Tried again. Started a blog, this blog, and baby steps later, here I am. It took one day at a time, and like a person standing on the ledge of a building, it took... not... looking... down.
I finally healed. Through Alan and Elvis's love and patience. Through my online friendships. I healed because of Alan putting the camera in my hand. When I was ill I had NO IDEA that one day I would be standing on the corner of Lexington and 20th in San Francisco, watching Woody Allen making cinema magic. I didn't know until years later that he had also had a bout with Anhedonia, and that Anhedonia was the working title of Annie Hall. But he worked through it, and didn't give up. And I think about him sometimes when I have moments where I revisit the option of giving up. He didn't give up, and because of that, I have had many, many happy hours watching his brilliant movies. I don't just admire him for his talent... I admire him for his ability to not give up.
Suicide. It should be a four letter word. I heard once that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That couldn't be more true or accurate. Suicide gives those rooting for your downfall a lot of power. It robs you of all the moments of excitement and joy you can't even imagine happening. It hurts those who truly love you for the rest of their lives. The folly of suicide is the fact that you can't hold those who will mourn you, and help them heal. The act itself is personal selfishness on a catastrophic level, that never allows for I am sorry. Mindy McCready couldn't see beyond the pain. I know what that's like. But thank God, I made it out alive, because if you would have told me back in 2001 that I would be standing on a corner, in San Francisco, on a mild August day, watching Woody Allen filming a movie, and making inadvertent eye contact no less, I would have said... "You're nuttier than me!"
And wouldn't the joke have been on me?
I would have missed that sunset over Angel Island. Isn't it just about perfect?
I really do wish Mindy hadn't given up.
Four be the things I am wiser to know...
Idleness, sorrow, a friend and foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without...
Love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.
Three things I shall never attain...
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die...
Laughter and hope and sock in the eye.