Part 6: Trips to the Dark Side

I have always been the type of person to think through everything I do very thoroughly, especially when I am serious about something.  I tend to act only when I am confident that I will succeed or know that the results will be satisfying by my standards; I don’t like to waste my time failing.  I guess it is this perfectionist in me that ultimately saved my life.

The red scarf incident allowed me to learn very early on that I was not strong enough to strangle myself to death.  That didn’t stop me though, from thinking about it in the years that followed.  Nor did it stop me from thinking of other ways to kill myself.  When I launched my personal website in November 2004, I intentionally named it for a reason that probably only I know.  Most people think of it as Miss Franny – the word “Miss” defined as a title for “an unmarried woman”.  The truth is I looked at it as miss Franny, miss me.  I don’t think anyone really knew just how prepared I was to leave my life behind.

There were a number of methods I knew I would never use to commit suicide: overdosing, cutting the wrist, jumping onto the subway track, and running into a fast moving car.  These methods could not guarantee death, and I was not interested in having to suffer from self-made injuries.  On top of that, I didn’t want my death to affect other people.  Jumping onto the subway track would cause delays for commuters.  I couldn’t be selfish like that.

On one occasion, I thought about jumping off a tall building.  I figured if I was high enough above the ground, it would almost guarantee death.  I thought a lot about what that would feel like, and I asked myself a lot of questions that I didn’t have answers for.  How nervous would I be the moments before I jump?  What does it feel like to be in the middle of the air falling?  How fast would I fall?  Will it hurt the moment my body hits the ground? Or would it happen so quickly that I wouldn’t feel the impact at all?  I was very curious about all these things and would not have been afraid to act on it, but there were other questions that stopped me.  What if my body happens to hit the ground just inches away from a passerby who is an elderly or a child?  How would they feel after witnessing a body hit the ground right before their eyes?  Would they be forever scarred by the vivid images of my blood splattering all over the place?

Over the years, I have thought about many different ways to take my own life.  I never did end up doing it, though, because I couldn’t figure out a way to do it without hurting a single person, whether they would be strangers or loved ones.  I knew that if I killed myself my friends would be sad, but only for a while.  I would eventually fade out of their memories and at some point they would forget me.  What I couldn’t picture was how much pain my parents would have to endure upon losing their only child.  They would never forget me and their pain would never subside.  I could not convince myself into justifying what would be an easy way out for me at the expense of my parent’s pain.

I suppose it would have been easier if I wasn’t…well, me.  If I wasn’t such a complicated thinker or if I was just a little bit more selfish, perhaps I would already be dead.  People often say that it takes a lot of courage to take one’s own life, and I agree with that.  But I also believe that, sometimes, it takes even more courage to keep going on.

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