I Have Crossed To Safety Holding What Makes Me Who I Am

I Have Crossed To Safety Holding What Makes Me Who I Am

I believe the poem, written in the midst of such grief and suffering, has profound applicability to my life and many of the lives around me.

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"To Time it never seems that he is brave
To set himself against the peaks of snow
To lay them level with the running wave,
Nor is he overjoyed when they lie low,
But only grave, contemplative and grave."

Above reads the first stanza of one of Robert Frost's lesser-known but astoundingly profound poems, "I Could Give All To Time." It is a poem in my favorite book in his collection of poetry: A Witness Tree. The book and the poems in it as a whole were written in a time of extremely dark circumstance for Robert Frost: in the four years prior to its publishing, his wife, Elinor, died of a heart attack, his son, Carol, committed suicide. I believe the poem, written in the midst of such grief and suffering, has profound applicability to my life and many of the lives around me.

Time, in this Frost poem, is personified and capitalized. He is capable of dramatic feats against dramatic circumstances, being able to equalize "peaks of snow" with "running waves[s]." The snow often lie far above the surface, and yet the wave is at the surface, so this equalization requires the convergence of elevations thousands of feet apart. "I Could Give All To Time" attributes a stoic nature to Time: to time he is never brave, as he is simply doing his job.

Time as a character goes back to far in history, religions, and mythology. There are two words for time in Greek: chronos and kairos. Chronos was the refers to quantitative time: time that can inherently be measured, while kairos is a qualitative time that refers to moments. In particular, it refers to the opportune moment to change. In Christian theology, kairos is defined as "ripeness."

Time in "I Could Give All To Time" identifies more with chronos than kairos. Time is never overjoyed, but "only grave, contemplative and grave." The word, grave, has its roots in the phenomenon of gravity, in physics always defined numerically as 9.81 meters per second squared. To be grave means to be unwavering, to never change, and Time, as chronos , never changes. It is measurable at all times, and it is an action to manage our own lives that makes time measurable: we count hours, minutes, and seconds for where we have to be, what we have to get done. We know we can rely on Time because he is "grave, contemplative and grave."

"What now is inland shall be ocean isle,
Then eddies playing round a sunken reef
Like the curl at the corner of a smile;
And I could share Time's lack of joy or grief
At such a planetary change of style."

The narrator inserts his own perspective in this stanza, indicated by the line that "I could share Time's lack of joy or grief." There is an island in the middle of the ocean, a resistance against the chronos of time. The "sunken reef" is also a last resort resilience against the eddies that surround it. Time is the eddies, who has a "lack of joy or grief." Time surrounds us like an army, robbing us of our emotions, whether good or bad.

It is, at times, liberating to not feel emotions, especially when such include depression, anxiety, grief, and devastation. I cannot fathom a world where a person would choose to feel any of these painful emotions, and I can say for myself that I could also share "Time's lack of joy or grief." But we must feel them. We have to, and I would say that all those negative emotions have simply made the joy I feel so much better. Joy and sorrow are not mutually exclusive emotions: they come together. I often find that the people in the most despair are

"I could give all to Time except – except
What I myself have held. But why declare
The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
And what I would not part with I have kept."

This stanza is one of my favorites in all of poetry, because I wonder, for the narrator, what "I myself have held." Renowned author, Wallace Stegner, has a famous book titled "Crossing to Safety" that references the fourth line in the stanza, that escaping Time has led the narrator to be in the area to Safety. He is "There," escaping chronos , drifting into kairos. The narrator is tempted - of that I am sure, to give way to Time's lack of joy or grief. He is tempted severely, but he can give all to Time's emotionless state "except/ What I myself have held."

What does the narrator hold? I believe, and this may be a misinterpretation, it is the ability to hold emotions, the ability to feel joy as well as depression and sadness. It is something he has kept, that he treasures.

So I say, to Robert Frost, to myself, and to you, that I, too could give all to time. I could surrender and relinquish everything I feel - from the sadness, anxiety, pain, betrayal, devastation, joy, gratitude, and solidarity. But I would not part with the experiences and feelings that I keep, and I have crossed to safety holding these parts of what make me who I am.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


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Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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