Things are looking down around here. We are all working to make you a better place, but things get in the way. The lives you give us aren't always fair. Most of the time it feels like you don't give nearly as much as you take away. World, I know you're trying your best, and I hope you know that I am too. But today, I cannot bring myself to be happy with the progress we have made, not when we have so clearly taken 10 steps backward.
A girl who went to my school, in my grade, has passed away at her own hand. And maybe I'm the wrong person to write about this. But, maybe I'm the exact voice who needs to tell you that suicide is never the answer.
I'm not using her death to gain popularity, I'm not coming out of the woodwork to tell you that a girl I hardly knew was taken too young, that she was beautiful and we live in a cruel and heartless world. That's blatant disrespect to her memory and all of her loved ones. I'll let them do the talking, the ones who really knew her.
Instead, I'll tell you about someone I do know.
She's different now than she was back then, but I used to worry about her. I didn't want to see her face on headlines, I didn't want to see Facebook posts about how she was taken too young, I didn't want to see mourner's faces turn back to normal in a matter of days. She didn't know that she mattered. She didn't know how deeply she'd be missed. She didn't know how she had changed the lives of the people around her. She didn't know that the only way to make a difference, to be remembered in this world is to stay alive, to make an impact, to show the world it was wrong about her.
I wanted her to prove that the word "cutter" is not synonymous with "screw-up." I wanted her to prove that mentally ill didn't mean fragile. I wanted her to show that bipolar didn't mean she couldn't be successful.
I wanted her to be strong when she had every right in the world to be weak. I wanted her to look the people who told her she couldn't right in the eyes and say, "Watch me."
Maybe those are unrealistic expectations, and maybe it took the better part of two years for her to drag herself out of the gutter, but she did it. She rose to the challenge.
Her name is Kenzie. And she was fortunate enough to run into people along the way who proved to her that she'd solve nothing by killing herself.
I only wish that the girl who passed away could've been as lucky as I was.
Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. Maybe it doesn't always feel that way, but I am alive. I am alive and living my life the way it was meant to be lived.
So instead of us all pretending like she was our best friend, let's take our cues from her and remind ourselves that no matter how much we detest our lot in life, we are still alive. Let's take our cues from her and appreciate the lives we have been given. Let's take our cues from her and remember how lucky we are just to be alive, to have working legs that carry us through the day and a roof over our heads.
Maybe instead of mourning this loss, we should celebrate her life. I'm sure that's what she would've wanted.
I am thankful, today and every day because today could be my last and no one should live or die with regrets.
Give a stranger a hug. Tell your mom you love her. Be nice to your siblings. Call up a friend you haven't seen in forever and give them a compliment. You never know what other people are going through, and you never know if this is the last time you will ever see them.
You leave so much behind when you end your own life. I will tell you what I wish someone would've told her: you are not alone. You are never alone. Seek help when you're struggling, there are always people who will care enough to help. Whether it be depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, abuse or neglect, assault, loss of a loved one, bad breakup, pregnancy or abortion, you just need someone to talk to, anything, there are always answers outside of suicide. Get help before it's too late. Don't be the next newspaper headline.
CRISIS CENTER HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1-800-784-8433
DEPRESSION HOTLINE: 1-630-482-9696
TREVOR PROJECT (LGBT HELP): 1-866-488-7386
EATING DISORDERS HOTLINE: 1-847-831-3438
RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: 1-800-656-4673
GRIEF SUPPORT: 1-650-321-5272
EXHALE (AFTER ABORTION HOTLINE): 1-866-439-4253
Dear World, today was less than stellar, but tomorrow will be better. Just keep trying on your side, and I'll keep trying on mine.