Warning: This content talks about suicide.
On February 4th, 2018, I tried to take my life.
Obviously, my attempt failed.
It was the day of the Super Bowl—the only reason I remember is because all of my friends were too drunk to take me to the hospital.
I had just gotten off of work, and a coworker and I had just had a nasty fight. I worked closely with sexual assault survivors—I was chair of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Planning Committee at the time—and we had been screaming at each other about why it was important to believe survivors. He, like many, believed that it wasn't fair to the wrongly accused, and people should always be suspicious if there's an accusation.
Earlier that day, one of my fellow managers at Pizza Hut was hired back onto the team even though there had been many complaints by employees as young as 16 that he had sexually harassed them.
That and the confrontation with my coworker on the same day sent me over the edge. Chairing that committee was the most important thing I had ever done, and it wasn't going well whatsoever. Moreover, I felt like whatever I did accomplish on the committee, people like these two men would still exist and survivors' voices would continue to not matter.
I felt hopeless like nothing mattered. I didn't matter.
I was so overcome leaving the office that while I was waiting for the light to turn to cross the street, I walked in front of a car.
They stopped just in time, and I remember running to my car, sobbing and embarrassed at my failure. That was one of the worst nights of my life.
Two days later on my birthday, I was diagnosed with depression. Over the next few months, I started taking mood stabilizers and worked with a counselor on campus to get me through the semester.
Looking back a year later, I think for probably the thousandth time about how thankful I am the driver missed me.
I was fired from Pizza Hut (for something that was totally, obviously, not my fault!) that same week, and it ended up being one of the best things that could have happened for me. That job was one of the biggest stresses in my life, forcing me to deal with sexism, homophobia, and racism daily from my coworkers, not to mention screaming customers who don't treat you like a person.
I presented at a conference, learning and teaching my peers about rape culture.
That April, I developed an event where survivors could present poetry they wrote themselves to have their narrative heard. To this day, I've never experienced any feeling like the one I had laying in my bed that night, reflecting on some of the thanks I received and the emotion I saw.
I also found my dog on the side of the road and rescued her. Now she's my emotional support animal, also the apple of my eye.
Around the same time, I started to crochet. I still have a lot of room for improvement, but if I hadn't gotten depressed and went sober, I wouldn't have had so much time on my hands, which gave me the time to learn what is now one of my biggest pleasures in life.
A few months later, the night before my first Pride, I cried in the back of my friends' car reading the Wikipedia page that helps you work through whether or not you're genderfluid. Any queer knows that if you have to Google it, you probably are. I came out to my support group shortly after. Then Pride happened, and it was the most deliciously queer thing I've ever experienced. I felt more validated than ever.
I started binding when I needed to feel more "me." Now I live authentically, respecting and loving my male and female side equally.
That same month, my roommate got a companion for my Stella named Pepper, and she brings so much joy and laughter into our lives. Their sisterhood is adorable, and the four of us have become a little family in our little college apartment.
When school started, I received a scholarship, started two internships (one as a Content Creator with this fine establishment), and earned straight A's for the first time in my life.
Towards the end of that semester, my beautiful girlfriend and I started dating, and it's easily one of the best relationships I've ever been in.
At Thanksgiving, I came out to my parents as gay.
Soon after, I went back to Seattle where I was born and was reminded how much I love the mountains and trees.
I got four tattoos in 2018. All of them are beautiful and special, and make me feel like art.
Now, I'm starting the last semester of my undergraduate degree.
I sit here now, with so many accomplishments under my belt and high points in this past year, and thank whatever gods may be for stopping the car.
As cliche as it may sound, I've developed a newfound appreciation for life and everything it has to offer. I can sink my teeth into every day, and my heart is full with the bounties I get to enjoy because I chose to work for my mental health and work for my place here on this earth.
I deserve that. Everyone deserves that.
It really is true what they say, that if you don't stick around to watch it get better, it never will. I, and this year are living, breathing proof of that.