I was 13 years old when I considered killing myself. I know I am hardly alone in this regard, being a teenager generally sucks for everyone, but middle school was particularly rough on me. My school required uniforms, white collared shirts and blue shorts/pants. It was a particularly rough financial period for my family and I have always been a tough person to buy clothes for. So not only was I a fat kid, I was a fat kid with grease stained shirts and very short blue shorts. In other words: a perfect target. My 8th grade year I had zero friends, hung out in the library and tried not to stand out anymore than I naturally did. I would go on the school computers, open up the Paint program and draw digital representations of me killing other students, myself and scenes of war. If this was a few years later in post-Columbine days, I might have been expelled or arrested.
Instead I became more and more isolated in school. I had a GPA of 0.29 my first semester. 6 F's and 2 D's. I had a couple of friends older than me in high school so after school who I could go play video games with them, but from 9:30-3 I hated my life. I truly have no idea what would of happened if I hadn't asked my mother one day after school "Does it hurt to stab yourself?" My mom didn't respond, so I elaborated in a manner I prefer not to share. She stopped the car almost immediately and told me not to ever talk like that again, that she loved me and that it hurt her very badly to hear me talk like that. Then she bought me a Jumbo Jack, because apparently life lessons are more easily digested with loads of trans fats and refined sugars.
I love my Mom.
I never thought about offing myself again. Because I knew the impact it would have on those I loved.
Today I caught shit on Twitter for labeling suicide "selfish" in the wake of Junior Seau's suicide. I'm trying to deal with Seau's death. To understand number 55's influence on a boy growing up in 1990's San Diego, you only need know that I will never have to look up how to spell his name. He is as big a part of my childhood as Tony Gwynn, Bill Clinton or Michael Jackson. Today he shot himself in the chest and died alone in Oceanside, where he grew up and played high school football. He IS San Diego. He IS the San Diego Chargers. And he was selfish for taking that away from everyone who loved him.
Four years ago I was working at a Fishing Tackle/Gun Store. I hadn't done a play in a while, I didn't have any dedication to getting better as an actor and wasn't motivated enough to get out and try. I thought being an actor would maybe happen, but I was likely to end up running a Sportfishing boat, a highly unappealing but easy scenario.
Then my friend Jeff, one of the funniest, most talented and awesome people I had ever met shot himself in the head. It's hard for me to understand Jeff's impact on me. He once duct taped me to a chair in a playful mutiny against me, his stressed out lighting designer. We spent an awful lot of time together. We once talked our way out of a surefire DUI for him, in a car with no registration or insurance. Then, this being the BFB era (Before Facebook), we hadn't spoke for a while. He had gone to New York, to perform and be awesome. I had stayed in San Diego, to sell Springfield 1911s and cut Albacore. When he died, I felt like he had taken something special from the world. Out of everyone I met up through college there were 4-5 people I thought were going to "make it" and make a living entertaining people. I was one. Jeff was another. Losing him made me feel like I was wasting what I had learned and the only talent I had been born with. I went back to class. I auditioned. I worked at my favorite theatre in the world and got on TV. Jeff could of done better.
Selfishness is defined thus:
devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
You can decide for yourself if Suicide falls under this definition. For me it does. I'm not attacking the ones I have known or you have known who have done it, but it is an inherently selfish act and one way to prevent it is to understand that fact. Maybe if Junior or Jeff would of thought about those who loved them they would still be with us. Our world would of been better with them here.
I would of gladly told them the same thing. Or bought them a Jumbo Jack.