The following is a translation I made of a text published by Miguel Cane @AliasCane in animalpolítico.com, a mexican independent news site that endorses young journalists and writers.
This particular text touched very deep fibers in me, and I wanted to share it with you guys. Maybe you’ll feel as identified with it as I did. If anything, I only wish you can understand what if feels like to be a suicide, to know that it’s something that lives within you, and that it can come out and play any day. Being a suicide it’s not the same as being suicidal I think. The latter is a state of mind that draws you to the act while the first one is a part of who you are, it stays with you forever whether you success or not.
In any case, I give the floor to @AliasCane, whom I thank for allowing me to work on his text:
Saturday, 4 am
It seems so easy, as taking of your shoes.
To leave the cellphone as well, the wallet, the house keys, the glasses – when I take them off everything is usually blurry, I’ve been myopic my whole life, but now everything’s strangely clear – and start to walk through the sand up until where the waves break, fully dressed.
While doing this, I know that I’m sober. That I’m lucid. That I’m awake and not sleepwaking. The last thing I remember doing, while I was walking through this city’s seafront promenade where I’ve lived for the past six years of exile, was sending a direct support message to a writer friend -if he ever reads this, he’ll know who it is – that needed it at the time: “keep on writing stories to keep us alive”. The message was sent and I suddenly went down to the beach and started walking towards the shore.
First one foot, then the other. Water to my ankles, thighs, knees. Under my feet, sand that starts to dissolve. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I’ve been thinking for the past twenty-three years that one day I would do it again. I can’t remember well what I did that first time. I know that it was much more violent then (I have an almost imperceptible scar on my right wrist that reminds me). This is so gentle. Just walking in the water. Up to my waist, to my chest.
Above me the stars are shining. The orion belt and the solitary moon, that look at me at that time when there’s no one on the beach; the same one I’ve lived in front of all this time. I don’t think in the water that’s up to my neck now, nor in anything else. Sometimes suddenly, I can’t think. Right now there’s only sand and water. There’s no fear or hate, nor pain.
Suddenly, I can’t feel the sand below my feet. Then I can let go. Float. Sink.
I’ve had suicide thoughts for many years now.
Possibly even before understanding what suicide is.
The first round was at 16 years old and it was something abrupt, moved by desperation. We’ve all felt like that at that age; I lost control and decided to die, suddenly, without planning it. I could’ve gotten away with it had I not been found. Since then, the notion of suicide became apparent in my head for a while each day, and every day, from that first moment in the summer un 1990, it was (it is) a day more of life. Reaching the next day is much more work, occasionally it’s an achievement, even if many people don’t understand, even if many people – even people that knows you and ostensibly, people that love you -react in horror or with violence upon discovering you’re a suicide. I can’t explain myself the moral superiority that some adopt about it; the disparagement and disgust with which the suicide is seen, whether the one that accomplishes it or the one that fails. I don’t understand. I’ve always thought that (paraphrasing here) respect for the suicide of others is peace*. As it is the decision of executing it.
The suicide doesn’t need compassion. I don’t write this for that. We don’t need compassion, though understanding is not out of place. Because once you’ve done it, you are one. Even if you don’t complete it, you are one. I am one, even if I’ve never written a suicide note, and perhaps I wouldn’t know what to put in it (“so long cruel world”? I don’t think so), having contemplated it so close so many times, having been in the presence of death. Knowing that we’ve put on the gloves and got on the ring.
I am, I am, I am.
I float in the water. There aren’t much waves. I’m about to submerge and let the current drag me down, when something stops me: it’s like a panic squeeze on the chest, it’s the pain of the muscles I’ve forced and something else; it’s the urgent sensation of coming back. On the shore people start appearing, though I can’t see them I know who they are: the friends, the relatives, the invisible brothers, the kids whom I still haven’t taken to museums or to the movies, whom I haven’t read books to. My parents, Audrey. There’s Audrey, awaiting for me to come and get her. All the friends that are part of the projects awaiting me – a play, a bookstore, a life somewhere else – all the people I love. I take a deep breath then, spit out the salt water and swim back, until I’m on my knees on the sand again.
I sit on the beach to catch my breath. I don’t know how long it’s been. It couldn’t have been more than some minutes, but time has lost all its proportion. The sand in my hands is just that, sand. The sky above my head is the same one as before, and yet it feels different. Days that follow will be -have been- different too. Heavy. Endless. Until little by little they turn more agile and productive and don’t feel synthetic, when it’s not so hard to wake up. I wanted to die, suddenly. But right now I can’t leave it all. I take off my gloves and step out of the ring. I don’t know whether I’ve won or lost. Living won.With the joy, the troubles, the loose ends, the hugs, the indifference, the love that is given and the love that is received, even if they’re not proportionally the same.
Will you do it again? A restless voice in my head asks me while I clumsily walk towards the stone steps that lead into the street, from there to the building, the elevator, home. Will you do it again? Yes. Do you regret it? No. I can never regret anything I’ve ever done, because with repentance there’s no learning and I have to learn something from everything I do, from everything I’ve done, even this.
There’ll be other rounds with the voices, with the impetuous need of not wanting to keep living. Not today, not tomorrow. Another twenty-three years may well pass. One day we’ll get back on that ring, and maybe it’ll win. But not today. Not soon.
I am a suicide. And I move on with my life, a day at a time. There’ll be good ones. There’ll be terrible ones. But there will be. And I’ll walk through each one of those days as long as I can. In all their uncertainty, as endless is the sea.