I Am Pro-Suicide

CJ

It’s a delicate subject, but after the passing of a dear friend by his own hand, I feel I have to say something. Too many have suffered in silence and indignity, so I must speak: I am pro-suicide. No, I’m not talking about the legal rights people have to do with their bodies however they see fit. I’m talking about the decision itself.

For almost my entire adult life, I was suicidal. Still am sometimes. It isn’t something that ever really leaves for good. Some circumstances do change. Every great life event that would have caused me to abandon this world (the last of which being far more recent than I’d ever care to admit) never transpired. One circumstance that hasn’t changed has been myself. I am still, at my core, the same person I always was; with all the misunderstanding, brilliance, inability, exuberance, despair, and terrifying solitude that comes with the package. I know what it’s like to struggle on with a smile on my face, when everything inside screams the opposite. I know loneliness. I know despair. I know futility. And I know what it’s like to continue on in pain, with no conceivable way of bringing it to an end.

Too often, through an inability (or unwillingness) to let go of the illusion of control over the lives of others, the living bully and demonize the dead. One common accusation I hear is that the suicidal are selfish, acting without considering what pain their passing might visit on others. While there’s no avoiding the fact that dying will profoundly affect many people, to call taking one’s life “selfish” is itself one of the most selfish ways of viewing human life. Each of us only has one precious life. One. It is ours to deal with as we see fit. Truly, it’s all we have. To therefore suggest that we owe any part of our life to anyone else, that our life is not our own because others’ lives may be affected in some way, is supremely arrogant and dismissive of the humanity of others. [Read more…]

Love Changes, Changes Not

Is it fair to love someone and expect them to change? Is it fair to expect them not to?

Far too few people give adequate thought to the future when choosing a mate. When they do, they tend to plan a future with their partner in mind… that is, their partner as they are. However, this article offers an interesting take on the relationship dynamic. Its main point is that a partner must change into effectively a different people at different stages of the relationship, in order to suit the needs of the other.

Now part of this is to be expected. Everyone changes. We all get older, and we are all at least expected to grow up and mature during this time. I think it’s reasonable, for example, to expect your early-20s girlfriend to dress a little bit differently when she’s your early-60s wife. But the fundamentals of who a person is, what’s unique and special about them, and what’s really important to them in life in the long-term, all that’s there to stay.

Think about the long, grueling quest for a soul mate. You’ve finally found that one person you understand and who understands you, and decide to build a life together. Then one day, it’s “time to change.” You can’t be you anymore. Time for the newer model.

If that were always the case, why would anyone ever fall in love?

Love Through Loyalty

This week I’ll say a little word on an issue redundantly close to everyone’s heart: love. I know, bad joke.

Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone at least pretends to want to love. The prevalent theory goes, if you love someone, then you should show it. Naturally, then, the biggest and splashiest displays of affection are the ones that get the most attention. So let me say a few words about loyalty.

There is what is seen and what is not seen. In economics, we see (and pay attention to) the effects of a broken window, or maybe a war, in stimulating economic growth. What we don’t see is the lost economic growth when the money is sunk into replacing a broken window instead of being spent for more useful purposes, or how a country’s economy might have flourished by producing more creative things, rather than fueling destruction.

So it is with love. Focus too much on the big fancy roses, dinners, public declarations and whatnot, and you might miss the constant, steadfast dedication of being trustworthy and loyal. That peace you feel knowing you won’t be cheated on? That took a lot of love. The daily lack of problems and complaints from your special friend? Lots of patience and self-sacrifice involved there. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you have someone you can count on to be there for you through thick and thin, for better or for worse, whether you’re being nice and thoughtful or a complete jerk? The fruit of eternal dedication, endless hard work, and love so strong it exhausts the heart on a regular basis. That is true loyalty.

The problem is, loyalty has a terrible PR department. It’s awful at seeing to it that its efforts are appreciated. So it’s up to us all. To that person in your life who has oh-so-quietly been constant and loyal, make him or her perfectly aware of one thing: that there is nothing more precious to you in the world.