I walked into her room to see how she was doing. I opened the door and there I saw her slumped on her bed holding a piece of broken jewelry box mirror trying to slash her left wrist. The gleam in her eyes that was hers alone had already left her. That warm and cheerful smile didn’t leave a trace on her lips either. She glanced up to me, void of all expression, and said nothing.
You can see by the look in her eyes that she has cried for ages. She is going to kill herself, I thought, with the most “untasteful and unelegant” way of doing it. Let alone the act itself. As I moved closer, I noticed the broken pieces of mirror lie innocently on the floor of her bedroom and beside her was a bread knife. If the situation wasn’t desperate, I’d laugh at the sight of a flimsy knife. Both her left and right wrists bore red marks of attempted cuts. On second thought, she wouldn’t go kill herself—not with that courage and passion for truth and living. I wouldn’t deny how deeply distraught she appeared though. She looked frustrated, anxious and scared as she handed the broken mirror to me and said, “maybe you can make it bleed for me”. I walked away thinking it wasn’t too bad at all. I know her.
I returned and saw her lying peacefully against the white linen bedcovers. I noticed what seemed to be small puncture on her left wrist. She didn’t wipe the blood off her skin. I sat on her bed thinking of only one thing that could have prompted her to do it—failing herself. If I didn’t know her that well, God knows I’d get scared for her. I thought she cracked-up. I became aware of the possibility of her ending up in a straight jacket due to some compulsive behavior.
“It’s unconventional I know”, she began to speak as if reading my mind. “The act of inflicting physical pain to oneself. It might be ridiculous and even outrageous for some people. But we might get surprised at how terribly injurious we are to ourselves. We only have to look back at the times we knew we’ve hurt the people we cared for and the times we disappoint ourselves. The times when we let ourselves become too jaded, we let go of our dreams and principles. Slowly and purposely, they go unnoticed until one day we wake up finding there’s nothing else to live for. These seemingly trivial circumstances when put altogether reduce the brutality of this act”.
Too much reality on a Friday night, I thought. She had a slice of the real world. I asked her what she has gotten out of slashing her wrists but she dozed off. I thought hard then and it all made sense now. Somehow I can hear her say, “there’s nothing to be afraid of, I’ve hurt myself a thousand times painful than this” while trying hard to slash her wrist. It’s ironic—the way we cringe at the thought of boring a tiny hole in our skin when we never have considered thinking twice before trashing our lives away.
I began to see self destruction in its most obscure assaults and in its highest form. This encounter had me thinking about the lives of people around me. I thought of the disillusioning public officials and twisted ministers who have won the hearts of people. It had me thinking about all the villains in our lives who lost the childlike faith in them. It had me thinking about the stoic people I’ve met who have long lost the zeal for living. And it made me look at my life and at my own tendencies to forget.
I began to see that living in a place where evolution of morality is always an issue between disintegrating virtues and just plain “getting liberated” is about holding on to one’s ideology even if the world makes a cynic out of everyone else. Living in a modern world where socio-political turmoil polarizes a nation is all about hoping and hoping and still hoping that this isn’t all the world can ever be. Living with people who have had inconsolable heartaches and who have grown weary of tales with happily-ever-after endings is about believing in yourself that you can make all the difference and be the person you’ve always wanted to be. Living in an era when religions have perverted sense of ethics endorsing politicians and all is about believing in God, in truth, in justice and the goodness of humanity.
I was deliberating over a theory that living has always been a battle against self-destruction. At one point, that is so but then again…
…living is about a guy you almost fell in love with and kids running around the field. It’s all about those phone calls with some guy that last ‘til 4 in the morning. It’s all about watching movies one Friday night and a friend in high school who made you cry. It’s about the professor who made the class holler with laughter with his slightly green jokes back in some college class. It’s all about that Saturday morning cartoons you and your sister ever so diligently watched when you were kids. It’s all about hanging little barbie dresses on the clothesline with your younger sisters. It’s all about the first piano piece you finished and the time you shamelessly performed ballet in front of all your relatives (and now you wonder how you pulled that one off). It’s all about one high school dream of conquering the world which you and your best friend shared. It’s about the scrabble board game and the uno-cards your family played during “brown-out” nights and how everyone had his turn in assuming the role of “the culprit”. It’s all about pictures of smiling faces and dancing around the rooftop one rainy night. It’s all about that silly VHS your sister rented and the street children you bought dinner with. It’s all about the girl scouts camp when you were elementary and your mom’s spaghetti. And it’s all about…