Purple Clouds and Spiders
On the weekends I liked going to my cousins’ house because they had DSTV and we didn’t, they had a generator and we didn’t. I liked to sit in front of their large tv in the moments my loving grandmother wasn’t screaming at me that I would ruin the remote and that I should let someone with more experience handle it(it was a bloody remote). I was still young enough that ludic cartoons seemed plausible. It seemed plausible that I could build a gigantic secret laboratory in our three bedroom house that my parent’s would never find out about. It seemed plausible that there was a global secret organization run by children who had the technology to go to space. I still remember the words to all the theme songs from all the seasons of Digimon.
Reality however is brutally mundane. And on the weekends we didn’t visit my cousins, I found other ways to entertain myself. I lit things on fire, many things. I dismantled all the radios in the house and put them back together under the threat of a vigorous caning. I taught myself calculus using my father’s old university textbooks. I dug holes in the cement backyard and pretended to play golf with the balls out of used up roll-on. I started writing a novel (I found its remains the summer before I started college: It was utter trash). I sat in my room and watched the spiders that clustered in the corner between my bed and the wall.
Every morning when you wake up, join me in saying a prayer. Even if your beliefs are some kind of funky thing suffixed in “eist”, get on your knees and say a prayer in thanks that whatever forces colluded to shape the earth as we experience it, deigned to make it so that there are no spiders big enough that they cannot be squished with a shoe. And before you get up off your knees, beg that it remain so till our sun becomes bloated and incinerates this blue speck into so much space dust. Because if spiders were bigger, (say the size of a dog or in my worst nightmare an elephant) we would all be royally fucked. Spiders are the apex predator. They move fast, they build traps stronger than steel ( yeah, yeah, yeah I know it’s tensile and per density unit, you go debate your high school physics teacher), they’re uber sensitive to changes in their environment and if you’ve ever seen a spider kill a mother’s son, then you’d know to be grateful those motherfuckers are only killing insects and small birds. I sure as hell don’t want my last memories to be of a hairy octal embrace, hairy fangs injecting my body with toxic goo to aid decomposition and most importantly, digestion.
I would watch the spiders and the spiderwebs clustered in the corner between my bed and the wall. I would watch the unknowing insects that flew dumbly into the traps. I would watch them struggle to get loose, their wings twisting into angles they were not made to assume, worming their bodies deeper into the thready embrace with each tremor of their quickly tiring bodies, making the inevitable kill easier for the killer whom nature has already gifted so supremely that it needs no help(are you praying yet?). For the trapped there can be no help. Even if the dumbasses had evolved brains big enough to figure out how to help each other, any helper would also become trapped in the fatal caress of silk.
Trigger Warning: Bad Metaphor Ahead(yeah I’m gonna compare shit to spiders, go debate your high school english teacher), oh and suicide stuff.
I recently lost a lot of weight. The secret to my weight loss is not eating. The secret to my not eating is food tasting like sawdust. The secret to food tasting like sawdust is the major depressive disorder I was recently diagnosed with, and dysthymia, let us not forget the dysthymia. The last time I can remember sensing anything that didn’t come from beneath a color muting blanket was at my primary school graduation. My mother still tells me how proud she was that the money I won that day paid off the balance of the debt we owed the school. I wore a brown gown and the english teacher made sure that someone else read the speech I had written after very emphatically calling me a goat. But I was happy. The photo I took standing next to Ibeabuchi that day was from when I smiled with my whole mouth and all 28 of my teeth.
I also recently tried to kill myself. It wasn’t the first time I have tried to do so. It also wasn’t the third, but I only tell my therapist about three. I’m not much enamored with living a life that has felt like a slog. Also having the fear of the unknown be the thing that keeps people from offing themselves seems like pretty flimsy reasoning to me. And when you’re lying in bed at night unable to sleep for the fourth day in a row, staring at the ceiling, Frank Ocean’s lost (fuck him for not having released that album) playing on the speaker, trying to drown out the fuzzy iridescent cloud floating by the french windows, insisting that NyQuil alone won’t do it quickly, you should also drink a fifth of whiskey, all the valium you have and sit in a full bathtub so that when you pass out, the water will make sure the job gets done: it feels like pretty flimsy reasoning. You might be able to take it for four nights, five nights, six nights. You try to call someone but everyone you know is busy, no one will pick up. And you grow tired of listening to the buzzing of the phone, you want out. And so you try to take the out. Cram your mouth full, gulp down, wait and pass out.You wake up in 18 hours. You have homework due in the morning. You head to the library.
I went to seek mental health assistance the next week and spent a depressing week in a psych ward.
You learn a few things when you try to kill yourself. The first is that you might not want to die as much as you thought you wanted to, if you really wanted to die you would have done a better job of trying to kill yourself. The second is that many other people have also tried to kill themselves, many of them people who are close to you and it is a shame that it takes someone attempting for people to open up and talk about their own struggles. Third is that the suicide note you wrote is overly dramatic, you should also have used less adverbs and focused on the imagery. Always focus on the imagery. Most importantly however is that like an insect trapped in a spider web, you are entangled in the lives of all the people who love you, to remove yourself from that web would be to destroy them. Some of them will make it through mostly whole, only a tiny strand missing from their length, others you will rip asunder till they hand from a bed post their constituent parts flapping uselessly in the draft from the ceiling fan.