‘Better Off Dead’ Means Wanting Life More Than You Can Stand

My thoughts have been with Katelyn Rogers, the 12 year old girl who recently live streamed her own suicide by hanging. My Facebook feed was cluttered with related links centered on the shock over availability of her video: Police Cannot Remove Horrifying Video From Internet, Suicide Goes Viral While Family Grieves, Video Outrage, etc.

I had the most sensible reaction to the information: I immediately Googled the video because I wanted to see it. All I had to do was enter ’12 Year Old Hanging Suicide’ in the search engine, narrow results to videos and eyeball what looked like a video you would shoot on your phone as opposed to what looked like a story about the incident. As of right now, the footage is still up on a classy site named ‘The Gutta’.

Video footage shows a broken girl, small frame, dressed in white, taking a rope and climbing a tree. Crying as she speaks to her live audience, she is apologizing to a few people in particular as she admits her “act of selfishness” and, after a few emotional deep breaths, she kicks something out from under her and the body sort of convulses like suffocation although her arms never raise to address her neck so consciousness is uncertain.

For something like twenty minutes, she slowly swings back and forth under the shade of the tree to the sound of birds and traffic. Finally you hear people calling out from somewhere, as if looking for her. The volume level is smashed by a sudden musical chime and you realize it’s her phone ringing, thundering as it also vibrates, and hearing it absolutely chilled me. It is the final word, somehow, as the video concludes just after.

I would never, in a million years, have even thought to wonder, but the question raised for me was: Why does someone with severe depression choose this as their method of execution? The internet says that death by hanging is immediate if the neck breaks, as well as painless. In other instances you feel a few-second rush and pass out before death…or, you remain conscious “for as long as you can hold your breath” and suffocate in extreme pain.

The online footprint she left is significant. Many lengthy videos can be viewed and analyzed. I watched her, watching herself in video phoning trend, as she consistently checked her image against the camera. Unrefined, throwing around profanity and words like “gay” and “faggot”, a lack of education and  culture seemed apparent. I felt bad for her right away on ignorance alone.

In the background you can see the appearance of low-income housing in the details, an unfinished bedroom with filthy carpet and clutter, a sheet hung as a room divider, mattress on the floor, etc. There are always young children around her, climbing on top of the dresser, screaming at the top of their lungs, leading you to assume that she and her siblings were often abandoned by the alleged parents.

Then the domestic disputes begin, recorded live at the time, of her fighting with her mother and then sobbing in to the phone camera as heavily applied makeup streams down her face. Too many times. This was a horrifying pattern that Katelyn lived regularly. She tells her audience that she gets called a whore, that she hates everything, that her dad “lives two miles” from her but refuses to acknowledge her, that her step-father assaulted her and that she is very, very tired.

“When you see someone who is emo, run up to them, force their sleeves up and kiss their arms. It will make all the difference. Trust me,” she advises in one video.

I even found myself researching the emo subculture, bourne of emotive rock and made popular in the early 2000’s. It is a look and sound that blends punk music culture with goth culture and rock music. So it’s an interesting style that is intended to say “I’m counting myself out before you count me” yet is carefully styled, depending on your ratio of time to money (because my god, dying/feathering your hair, flipping it upside down and wearing it off to the side isn’t easy) a contradiction in itself that seems to say: I don’t care, but I care so very much.

She walks outside during one video, walks past the tree and says, “This is where I ha-“ and the video cuts out temporarily. Where she hangs? Where she hangs. Where she hangs herself later.

An online blog, self-declared as ‘Broken Doll’ where she went by the name Dolly will tell you, she hated Christmas. It was never an enjoyable time for her.

She briefly broadcasts herself syncing along to Ruth B singing “Lost Boy”.

There was a time when I was alone
No where to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for a while
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely”

There is something unsettling, that perhaps I cannot relate to, about this digital age. Why do you feel so strongly, show off so much, only to succumb to the ails you’re exploiting with every soapbox announcement? How do the people that follow you, the There that is on the other side, the Force you join when you go Live, how is it guiding you? How does the attention, good and bad, factor? Were you not on a journey to be able to get through every day?

Maybe you aren’t looking in to IT, in to You, when you do it.

Are YOU reading this? Do you need to reach out and tell someone that you’re feeling out of control?

Are you at the end as far as you can see?

Whatever you do,

Don’t

Leave.

This story, this true story, all of it because of a heart-breaking video that made headlines, yet, that no one wanted anyone to see. I forgot, somewhere down the rabbit hole, what my original questions were, what I was searching for as I tried to uncover this story about a girl that the world misses very much.

I did it. I found her. I see her, I’ve got her. I know now.

But she’s gone. I can’t make her go forward. She only goes backwards and disappears.

My brother called.

“Autumn. I’ve made a huge mistake. I need your help.”

All of my previous drama is drowned out, the very volume on my life going down as I press my ear to the phone.

“A girl lured me online to Detroit I came down here and when I got to the house I was concerned because it looked boarded up but she was outside and she said ‘hey C’mon In'”…

The idiot, he actually got closer, still wanting to cling to the idea that his online soulmate was just feet away…

“And then this guy tried to get me to go down to the basement…”

He ran away. My brother got away.

Daniel stopped me several times from bolting from the house to pick him up. He said they could be trying to lure me too… that my brother might have been forced to call me…

He made it to a greyhound station just across the way from Windsor, where I got him a taxi to me, then we made the hour-and-a-half drive from my house back to my hometown. But that time in between almost killed me.

It’s over. It’s over. It’s over. He’s home. I’m home.

He had to struggle to figure out where he was. I had to struggle to understand if he was really free, if he was safe…his phone died before his ride made it to him and I just had to hope…hope… I can’t explain. I’m too tired.

My brother peered in to a boarded up building in Detroit and certainly saw death waiting in the dark.

I am hurt, in a panic, shaking even now, at the very thought.

 

 

 

 

 

No Problems Here.

I am NOT having a Christmas eve day episode.

This laptop isn’t even really here. I never think about the time I was on my laptop and Brad came in the room, tripped over the cords and wrecked the aux port on it before he bought me this one. I never wonder if any random troubleshooting need would be necessary if I had never gotten this device, or feel guilty for wondering those sorts of things.

It’s just, not really here.

My brother didn’t recently leave his girlfriend in tears, having broken up with her for someone else and reasoned that it was no different than what I did.

He says, he had to follow his heart. Maybe we never fought about it. I might never have blocked him on social media after reading nasty things he wrote publically, about our mother, who had lent his girlfriend hundreds and hundreds of dollars that will probably never be paid back.

Which means, he never went to jail. Was never told he’d be there without bond. I wouldn’t struggle with the idea of knowing he’d miss Christmas in the state’s attempt to punish without any means to correct. I didn’t send him a friend request in sadness…

Never saw that he had accepted it a few days ago. Never failed to understand why someone would be given a literal ‘jail break’ before having to serve the rest of their sentence at the end of January.

I didn’t struggle with mixed feelings about knowing he hadn’t stayed there long enough to receive the Christmas card I’d sent with the little picture of my dogs wearing ridiculous holiday clothes.

Maybe I kid myself about how much thought I put in to making sure there were good presents for my boyfriend to unwrap tomorrow. It probably didn’t take all month to figure out more than seeing something and asking whether or not it suited him and if I could afford – ahem, if Hello Kitty – could afford it.

And it’s no big deal how upset he sounded, realizing gifts existed and that my previously announced “absence of Christmas spirit” only meant no decorations. He didn’t try to figure out how much everything cost.

I wasn’t annoyed that he was the guy who wrote “gift card” on his secret santa profile at work.

“We could just stand face to face and exchange hundred dollar bills, but that would be missing the whole point of giving,” I never tried to explain (in the car on the way to Costco because he needed something and where ‘maybe [I’d] find a gift’-

“In BULK!” The sarcastic remark never escaped my lips.

I hardly struggled to keep Christmas in focus. It wasn’t hard, planning the meals or making sure chores were done. I didn’t seem to have depression or shrug it off as holiday stress. They were all just any other day.

Confusion was not my reaction when his friend asked him to visit on Christmas. I didn’t wonder why he was leaving me tomorrow to pick up his mother (who still refuses to acknowledge me) and drive out of town to see his old neighbor for the afternoon.

It was because his friend was in remission from cancer and just wanted to see him, so it didn’t hurt my feelings. I never wondered what I would do by myself on my one day off that had orchestrated the entire ordeal of December. I didn’t think it was weird that he was suddenly visiting his past life on our Christmas Day, cause Cancer is the magic safe word.

I never wished that I…had cancer, too. I don’t need his attention. There’s no need to pick any other day for a visit. My countless, willing sacrifices made on the daily have totally added up and I see enough of him as it is.

He didn’t feel obligated to go out during my work shift to find gifts, so it never made me feel bad. There was no need to wonder why he honestly had never thought about it, to ask myself if he really wouldn’t have gotten me a single thing if I hadn’t set out his presents. It’s just stuff.

The day didn’t suck before I made it home, landed in a chair and called him to ask for some chocolate covered cherries on his way back. I know better, because that would be sharing my thoughts about something that I want. He wouldn’t start asking jackassy, objectional questions with disapproval before I hung up on him and drove off to get them my fucking myself.

I didn’t call him back and bitch him out over the phone, apologizing for the burden I must be…never tossed his clothing off the banister and on to the floor because JESUS CHRIST IT’S NOT A PERMANENT COAT RACK.

I mean, it IS. It’s totally cool, not taking your shit with you when you go up the stairs. FUCK it. Fuck all of it.

It doesn’t matter.

We’ll Have To Get Together The Next Time We’re Both Free.

If I could just sit down and write for a while, but the while is never convenient. I suppose the upside to that is realizing how the upset, passion-fueled mind has not been roused for While.

While,

I had a moment between chores today when I realized that I was enjoying my life. I like where I am, I like what I do, and I hold a hopeful frame of mind. Thanks for that.

Sincerely,

Your beloved victim of time.

The holidays are here, ya’ll. I know you know. How are you holding up so far?

This year I joined Reddit’s holiday gift exchange which clearly states a $20 gift minimum for all secret santas, so I assumed it meant “around a twenty dollar gift”. I found star wars electronics on clearance, bought gourmet food, dog toys and crammed a good $60 value in to a box that was ten more dollars to ship, hoping it would suffice.

Today I got an e-mail that ONE of my gifts is a Vinyl Me, Please membership. I was stunned. I cannot keep up with these online merry makers. I had that on my BUCKETLIST as a LIFE goal, not as a gift idea. Anything fancy like that tends to be taken care of by my Hello Kitty credit card, for me to deal with over a long period of time with interest. I can’t afford Vinyl Me, Please. That’s why it was a goal.

Hello Kitty has been paying for more than I like to admit, with things like “tax rebate” in mind. It doesn’t help to have my finance ambitions taking hold during the freaking holidays when I just want everyone to have something nice. Those two things are opposing forces. I’m trying to leverage with stuff like baked goods and mix CDS. Personalize and mass-produce, another contradiction now that I think about it.

My family is stable. I get along with everyone and recently added more family members to my HR-Safe virtual home of Facebook. It’s a place with sprinklings of me, finely filtered, just bland enough to go with everyone’s feed. I can add my doctor, my lawyer, the defendant, the suspect, the mom, the coworkers, the real friends, etc and they can all gel together like an amazing 70’s gelatin mold: Gets the job done with something left to be desired.

The fun stuff doesn’t always have a showcase. That’s precisely why I am hoping to get the chance to sit here more and empty my brain.

If you’re out there, if you’re reading this, I want to invite you to my annual Christmas card exchange. A chance to build rapport or just participate in something fun, please leave a comment if you are interested or shoot me an e-mail to autumnmay@gmail.com. I’ve got cards and I wanna send holiday cheer, dammit. So do it. It’ll be good for you.

Now that I have an Xbox One I am afraid several titles are calling my name. New gamertag, needs to develop a decent gamer score. I’m thinking of racing through Rock Band to rack up some achievements. If you’re on there as well, give me your Gamertag. I’ll add you back. Warning: I like taking screen shots of pretty CGI parts and posting them to my activity feed.

Although it may seem a run of the mill posting, this is actually a wall coming down. I don’t think I have ever successfully linked myself to other realms. Enough people in the waking life find you online, enough online people stalk you in real life, it all starts to blur for me. No one likes to live in the dark, anyway. So this is my house. Here are my windows.

If you throw something, please use heavily-weighted chocolates, fruit cake bricks and graphic novels. I’ll clean up glass all day.

Happy holidays,

Autumn May

Proving It.

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Rose pruning. Plant IDs. You can never have too many friends.

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The front porch is lit. Crap is climbing out of everything.

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These are the hostas left in the ground. Animal and bug deterrent is working. No more cracks, no more holes. I see a pine cone I’m throwing it across the yard. Don’t fuck with us.

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I mean, goddamn. Beautiful.

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You know what, St. Franky? You’re welcome.

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No scraggly shit on my watch. Ugh, visible base block for the angel? Bitch please. Fixed.

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Some flowers, some shit in the middle. Like it’s easy. Because it is – ON THE EYES.

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Can you BELIEVE I posted that pic of the scraggly hostas? Well LOOK AT US NOW. WHAT NOW? COME AT ME. Is that VULCAN with the white???? Of course it is.

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Solomon’s Seal is ringing the choral bells. Cheer for the joyful sound until the license plate rattles AGAINST THE CAR SMASH A GUITAR FUCK SHIT UP.

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Still one of the best things ever. Not going anywhere. Birds can shake off their mites somewhere else.

 

Now hush. I ain’t even done.

It’s All Going Down…

liliesreadyI’m telling you, these lilies are in showcase shape and will be blooming any day now. I babied them with every trick I knew and they are going to explode on to your feed in the form of a million lily photos that will make you wanna unsubscribe, they will be hitting you so hard.

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What? Hostas were failing? I just potted them up and treated the hell out of them. Once they’re stronger and better, they will go right back in to the ground and be the ultimate collection they were intended to be.

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Yup, all of this is happening. Blue. yellow. Muthafuckin polka dotted, who knows. They will not be stopped.

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Little Henry isn’t so little anymore. He’s going to kick some ass.

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Whaaat? I’m cleaning all the other beds and taking care of everything else too?!? Yup. The shittiest plant is my weakest and I won’t run a shitty empire. This is all getting fixed.

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Groomed golden doodle overlooking the transition. Duchess, you take a shit wherever you like. This is ours.

You’ve Always Been

An annual conference with the queen

Third summer since new root

New neighbors, needles evergreen

A strange land to dispute

 

We are the crown, we drink in reign

And raise our brandy glass

We give our thanks in memory of

The boy who mowed our grass

 

No matter what for each farewell

We wish we’d kept them all

Divided we sing, united in dreams

Of old Carnation Hall

 

We pay respects to grapevine

That grew along the fence

Goodbye, forsythia in the spring

Our meeting must commence

 

I have been working very hard outside this year. With each plant strategically repositioned last year, we conquered. Lily patches have become focal points, two massive armies of pinks and warm colors that are coordinated and multiplying rapidly. Hostas that were lifted from poor soil are thriving in their new spots. They’re also making friends, learning to pair with the natives and are stronger for it.

Today I went back to the garden bed where plants weren’t looking like they had in the past, and I approached with a heavy heart for every broken leaf and hole. I didn’t know where anything could go if it wasn’t doing well where it was. But as I began to dig, I realized that the items in question had heavily multiplied….

Each seemingly suffering plant was easily trimmed and became three plants. It was like magic as I pulled each section away from the main root ball. It was like Christmas. I ended up dividing everything and lopping off weathered parts that wouldn’t be missed. I even took samples of everything and potted them so they could grow on the porch like extra copies.

All I had seen earlier were the imperfections and I totally missed the fact that everything was so much bigger – that being crowded was a compliment to progress. I wasn’t losing anything. I was winning. Gaining.

I was queen again.