First things first, for those of you not interested in my tendency to dwell on The Depressing Things In Life, I present the two books I've most recently finished:
10% Happier by Dan Harris- The subtitle on this one was, "How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduce Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works- A True Story", which is quite a mouthful, but also satisfyingly specific in its description. I came across it on NPR (dangerous, dangerous site), and liked the author's writing style enough to give it a try. One of my nascent sort of New Year's Resolution-y Thoughts was to maybe pick my meditation practice back up, and this seemed a good way to kick-start it. For that purpose the book really only needs it's Appendix, which is what contains the "instructions". Not that I don't remember how to meditate- I do- but I was looking to try a new (to me) method. Or maybe just reassure myself that I was remembering correctly- who knows the inner workings of Anal Retentive Mind? Anyway, that means that only about 1/30th of the book was what I was specifically looking for, but the truth is that the rest of the book- a newscaster's memoir of looking for a way to chill the fuck out- was a really enjoyable read, especially in the way that his Inner Skeptic sounded a hell of a lot like my own. So yeah- I'd recommend it, especially if you're looking to get into (/back into) meditation. I even tried my hand at metta today, the thought of which has always filled me with a sort of scoffing horror, but let's face it- I could stand to be a more compassionate person, so why not give it a shot?
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss- Rothfuss is one of my all-time favorite authors, primarily because his word craft is so exquisite. As such, I was fully expecting to love this novella, and my expectations were right on: it was an absolute lovely gem of a thing, perfectly cut and polished, full of bright flash and deep glimmer. If you haven't read the first two novels in the Kingkiller Chronicles, you'll want to start there (specifically with The Name of the Wind), because Slow Regard was merely the beautiful fleshing out of a side character, and probably confusing as hell if you're not already familiar with the world. The story is, as Rothfuss mentions in his afterwords, a story for broken people. Needless to say, I was immensely fond of it, and I felt that, odd and fey-like as it was, it actually revealed a great deal about a character who cannot help but play her cards close to the chest. Three thumbs up!
Speaking of broken people (/things) here is where we turn to the more macabre. Feel free to exit now, if you're not feeling up to it.
I had an excellent moment the other morning, when I finally, finally paid off the first miscarriage. Hooray! No, that's not sarcasm. I was genuinely pretty fucking stoked about it. And only about six more months to pay off the second miscarriage, so really I was feeling quite jolly all around. Normally I post about my happy moments on the FaceSpace, but for some reason I felt like me cheering for paying of a depressing medical debt would be... well, more depressing than cheerful. For other people. But I am happy about it, so again- hooray!
In less cheerful (but perhaps darker) news, a friend of mine committed suicide last week. Which, you know, more or less sucks. I'm pretty pissed at him, actually. Anger-as-default, and all that. But it's got me thinking a lot about suicide, lately, and what it takes to actually push someone over the edge. (as it were)
(Nothing is better than black humor! Nothing!)
Now, I hesitate to say that I was ever suicidal- but I did have my suicide planned out. In retrospect, however, I feel the details of the plan itself were a pretty good indicator that I wasn't going to do it, because I was still taking other people's feelings into account. I wanted to make my death as convenient and easy to clean up as possible for those who were left behind.
Obviously things never got that far.
I used to have so much rage- so much towering, fiery, fuck-you rage- for people who committed suicide (aaaaand in general, but that's beside the point). Because I knew how much it hurt when my dad died (against his will) and the idea that someone would knowingly inflict that pain on someone they cared about, on children... well, it just took my breath away with the sheer ass-holeryness of it all. I could not imagine anything more selfish, more hateful, more horrible and weak and stupid, than killing yourself*. To the point where I got a bit, "Well good riddance then, you fucking jerk," about it.
My rage has been tempered a bit in recent years by me coming to terms with the fact that, generally speaking, people who actually kill themselves aren't making a choice at all. They're ill. They're fucked up in the brain just like you can be fucked up in your joints or stomach or lungs. And it makes them do stupid, horrible things, but it's not actually their fault. So yeah- I'm still pissed at my friend. But I don't hate him. And I don't think less of him. I'll get over it, eventually. The anger, I mean. Mostly.
In the meantime, this is the point where I say, if you find yourself planning out the best, least-inconvenient ways to kill yourself, maybe bring it up to someone you trust. Because chances are, they're probably thinking more clearly than you are.
*(I'm not talking about terminally ill people choosing a death with
dignity- that's something else entirely, something that I am 100% on board with)