I haven’t written a word in over a year.
Today, on a balcony with a cigarette pressed between my lips, is the day it finally happens. I’m thankful that, after a year, my hand is no longer paralyzed and I can pick up a pen. Writing a draft is like throwing up. You always have to clean it up.
I won’t write a sentence that I didn’t agonize over. That’s what readers deserve. My agony.
The decision to share my struggles and triumphs living with an incurable mental illness was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made. If you Google my name the first five search results will be me, stripped away, naked, in my rawest form.
I always thought of my pen as the razor blade that I use to cut myself open and spill my guts. But experience showed me it can also grow wings and become a pigeon delivering the message that saves someone’s life.
I’ve told my story. It’s dark. It gets ugly. But then it gets better. The story does. Mostly it’s because an editor wants the light at the end — for the readers. It’s too real if it doesn’t have a happy ending. I can always end it with something about how medications, healthy habits and therapy have completely changed my life.
I’ve had my writing published online and in anthologies. One publication in particular features some of San Diego’s finest essays and poems. In 2016 I was asked to read my story at the anthology’s launch. I was scared; not of reading aloud in front of San Diego’s finest, but because I was telling a story about my suicide attempts and how my big brother saved me from each one. My brother is a funny guy. The dry, sarcastic kind of humor. Telling his story, intertwined with mine, I decided to use humor. Lots of it. Using humor to tell stories about suicide was why I was scared. As I read my final words, I sighed. I had made a crowd of about 50 people laugh and cry within the space of six minutes. I shook hands, nodded and said, “thank you,” to all of those who approached me admiring my story and the way I had told it.