It’s Poetry Tuesday! We are going to go back through all my old notebooks and look at the god-awful poetry I wrote when I was an angsty teen and then you will get present day Michelle’s re-interpretation/headdesk horror-filled embarrassment.
Trigger warning for teenage glorifying of suicide.
If you are feeling suicidal please go here
The world laid out before me as I stand on top of the building,
People look like ants from where I unexpectedly find myself,
Will I jump? They ask,
No, I will fly, high into the night sky,
I step up onto the ledge,
The world is a quilt and I am but one stitch,
No one will notice if I am pulled out,
I spread my arms, open my heart, close my eyes and fly out and off the building
Having just listened to an episode on the podcast With Friends Like These about depression and suicide, I, again, want to reiterate that I have NEVER been clinically depressed or suicidal. As I have also said in the past, I had a morbid fascination with suicide all through middle school and high school, much to my poor mother’s chagrin. I can remember one night when I was alone in the kitchen writing a poem and then trying to draw the subject of the poem, who had just committed suicide. This poem, I don’t know if it is in my archives, was about a woman who I had imagined want to be doubly sure she was going to die so she had done the deed with pills with booze and then slit her wrists. In, a very dramatic, attempt to get the drawing correct, I collapsed to the floor and tried to splay myself out artistically. Once I thought I got a pose that was both aesthetically pleasing and, in my teenage brain, realistic, I laid there and tried to visualize myself from above. I then scuttled over to the table and drew it.
As I grow older, I find myself rather fascinated by what is going on in teenage brains. I always find myself more and more thankful that asocial behavior cannot be diagnosed before 18 because teenagers are all baby psychopaths. It makes me think of Teenagers and I’m Not Okay by My Chemical Romance. And then all the music I listened to as a teenager that was really quite dark and fucked up (I still love to go back and listen to it : D ).
I think that one reason why teenagers can be so fascinated with death and awful things is because we are starting to grapple with our own mortality and place in the world. Prior to your teens you are more likely to be treated as special and coddled. Then suddenly you get slammed with hormones in insane quantities, you learn the world is not a safe or necessarily good place, your friends abandon you, and sometimes things at home go completely sideways. It’s such a period of upheaval that fascination with futility and insignificance make sense. And there is also the fact that their brains don’t have the information to process consequences all the way to the end and that their brains haven’t developed enough. But what’s even more interesting is that even while grappling with these things, teenagers still hold this feeling of eternal youth and immortality.
Even as adults there are things that our brains just can’t process like heights. Apparently our phobias are stored in different places than our fear of death, which is one of the reasons why you can stand on the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center and think about jumping even if you’re not suicidal. I thought the end of the article was interesting, the discussion of this instinctual, human desire to fly. I remember jumping off the top bunk because I thought I could fly, I think I might have even known I wouldn’t fly, but had some belief that I might glide. I think this also extends to other things, like wanting to touch a train as it comes into a train station.