The rhythmic thump-thump of a beating heart in Rihanna’s Russian Roulette reverberates through me as the hypnotic lyrics pulsate in my brain. If you play, you play for keeps. . .Suicide—The unspeakable remains unspoken.
What pushes people so far to the edge that they’re ready to end it? What makes someone put a gun to his head and splatter his brains on the floor or the walls? What makes a person slit her wrists until she bleeds to death? Or swallows pills and mixes potent substances to silence the screaming pain? What flashes through their mind as they pass from this world to the next—triumphant, sorrow, regret or relief?
Many people are bothered by the idea of suicide. We wonder why some people want to kill themselves because nothing is that bad. We think people who commit suicide are cowards; that they’re selfish for putting other people through that. We think suicidal people are weak. We believe those that attempt suicide and those that complete the act are different from the rest of us.
I used to think those things too, but not anymore. Experience has taught me that we can never know the depth of another person’s pain. And the history and legacy of African-American people doesn’t really lend itself to healing the hurt because we’ve become so accustomed to the pain that we think it’s normal. We are socially conditioned to push ahead no matter what. And while many of us would never admit to even considering taking our lives, we engage in destructive behaviors that may ultimately lead to our death, but won’t be ruled a suicide.
How many of us subconsciously contemplate suicide everyday through our actions? We read. We watch the news. We listen to the radio. We surf the net. We know that there are things that can shorten our life span, and we figure out what the hell. We’re going to do it anyway. We eat and drink too much of the wrong things. We kill our spirit because we live to work instead of working to live. We walk around not wanting to die—not wanting to live. All of our troubles are someone else’s fault so we don’t even see our finger on the trigger.
I know I don’t. Every day I am thankful for my life, that I’ve lived to see another day. That I’m of sound mind and body with a few aches and pains and senior moments. But I play Russian roulette with my life even when I know better. I blow off workouts and trashy my system with food that tastes good too me but is not good for me. I know the risks, but I play anyway because I convince myself . . . that I must pass this test.
What’s in the chamber of the gun you have pointed at your head? What’s your trigger? A drink or two to unwind? Toxic people? A relationship beyond the staying point? What will you do, put the gun down or just pull the trigger?