So, you wanna join the suicide club…

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Not that it’s a horrible idea or anything. Actually, I was once the assistant secretary of the vice president for the Suicide Club. A respectable role that involved greeting new members, taking down names, and get this: making sure they were suicidal enough to join. Ready for the crazy part? This story is completely legitimate. No metaphors, no witty symbolism, just the cold, hard truth. So what do you do in a suicide club? Well, probably not what you think we would do.

Of the 50 people I met who joined, only 1 of them actually ended up committing suicide. I was there at the time. She OD’d on <insert anti-depressant drug I can’t remember here>. Thing is, I didn’t find out she’d done it until I told her a story about my ex-girlfriend Sarah who had hung herself. It was at THAT point that her eyes welled up with tears and she told me she had OD’d about an hour ago, but that she didn’t want to die. I called an ambulance. They were unable to save her. And that was that.

What changed her mind? She’d already jumped through the final hoop, she’d been smiling (and vomiting) up until the point she said she couldn’t go through with it after all. I think it was a certain aspect of Sarah and I’s story. You see, she and I made a pact that as long as the other one was alive, we would never willingly leave the earth before our time was up, because that would just mean less time together in life. On top of that, we promised that if one of us broke that oath, the other one was obligated to kill themselves as well, in the same manner, so as to increase the probability that we would see each other in the after life. I didn’t do it though. Because I realized something as I sat beneath that great big pine tree, watching her limp body sway ever so slightly in the cool evening breeze… she was gone.

I mean, truly gone.

People talk about ghosts and auras and spirits and all these things when people die… there was nothing. No smile. No beauty. I remember laughing at how absurdly empty she was, when before she had been the most lively and beautiful person I had ever met. So now, here I am, half the man I used to be, and no relationship I’ve had thusfar has filled that hole in my being. If it sounds cliche, then good, because she epitomized cliche. She was/is the other half of me, and is forever lost to a void that is completely unknown to me. All the more reason to commit suicide, right? Well hold on… don’t you realize what all of this implies?

Somewhere out there, there is someone counting on you to be around to save them.

That’s it. Don’t believe me? Well, if you stick around long enough, you will. They NEED you. They may not know it yet, and you may not be able to believe it, but you have to. Your death will effect someone at some point, even if it’s down the road, in ways you cannot possibly imagine. And I guarantee that that someone is going to be the person you love/would have loved more than anything else in the world.

So, after all that, you may be wondering what the rest of the 49 people, including myself, did in the suicide club. Mostly, we talked about life over tea and occasionally a board game. And we lived together. Ironic? Not really, in fact, that would be an abhorrent misuse of the word. Funny? Yah, a little bit. But mostly is was just nice. Dandy. Swell. Simple. So if you wanna join, go right ahead… we’re all waiting for you here, with open minds and open arms.

Spirited Away

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Most of the art that I like speaks to me on such a deep level that it actually arouses emotions that I oftentimes forget are there. Music is far and away the art-form that speaks to me most clearly, but I want to talk about films, visual art.

It’s the films that make me cry that I know are the best. Often-times, it’s not that they’re sad necessarily that causes me to cry, but it’s that they bring out these emotions that I know will go away as soon as the film is over, and I don’t want them too. They remind of a part of myself that is hidden in some dark corners within myself, that in everyday life I can’t bring all the way out, into the light. The most recent of these is Spirited Away, the animated film by Hayao Miyazaki.

Chihiro worked so well for me as a main character; she was young, naive (but not stupid), charming, and most importantly, she had character. I could connect with her from the VERY beginning of the movie, when she’s reading her farewell card in the bouquet of flowers, complaining about moving to a new city. I knew right away there was something special about her, a mystery that made her less than a normal, scared 10-year-old girl in a big new world. She was different, aloof in a way. Mature not in her actions, personality or physique, but in the way she understood things and thought about the world. In short, she reminded me of myself.

I was enthralled throughout the entire movie, of course for the beautiful animation and the wild imagination of Miyazaki, but more than anything for the story and the characters. Chihiro grows up, in a way, as the movie goes on and she experiences different things, but she never loses one important quality: acceptance. The most valuable quality of childhood, the one that makes me sad as I watch it disappear in children as they get older. Unconditional kindness and love. She has it for everyone, she’s able to forgive everyone (and does, in the end).

No Face is my favorite example of the importance of this unconditional kindness, and is my second favorite character in the film. To me, he represents most of the people in modern society; lonely, sad, hiding behind a smiling mask, and immediately attracted to the genuine kindness shown by Chihiro. When he is rejected by her the first time, he becomes upset, and craves the attention of everyone else, “eating it all up” if you will 😛 No Face is not truly happy with the many things he indulges himself with, but he pretends to be, and over time becomes more and more moody, angry, and gluttonous. Chihiro, in the end, rejects him for the last time, but not because she doesn’t like him, because she knows what’s wrong and that she isn’t the answer to his happiness. In the end, No Face’s happiness comes in the form of a simple life out in a village, in the company of a witch, who appreciates him and recognizes his talents. He’s not lonely anymore, he’s found his place and feels like he belongs, thanks to Chihiro’s help. Same for Haku, who is reminded of his real name by Chihiro towards the end of the movie.

In fact, by the end of the movie, the one person who doesn’t seem to have “found her place,” truly, is Chihiro. I think this is symbolized by the fact that the hair tie she received in the other world flashes at the end of the movie, reminding us that she was truly there and has left a part of herself there in a way. She exists in two different worlds, a mediator, a person who helps others find their own way but never stops long enough to find her own. And it’s THAT thought that made me cry at the end of the movie.

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Some of us are born to fill that role it seems. To help others. And we lose our way more often than anyone else I think, because we forget that our place isn’t one specific location. It causes more harm than good sometimes. I admit that I’ve lost my way more times than I count, I’ve had selfish thoughts, wondering why I help others just so that they can be happy and then forget about me, no longer needing someone unstable in their lives. But that’s the point, isn’t it? To embrace it, to cherish our talents and our understanding of the world, to not withdraw ourselves. To not think about how horrible the world is, but to help it become a better place, because we’re the only ones who can. To remove the masks and stop being “No Faces,” and to show our real smiles and laughter underneath.

I highly recommend Spirited Away to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I apologize if the post was all over the place, I can’t be sure because I’m simply writing all of my thoughts quickly… but anyway. At least tonight I know, and I won’t forget my place… at least tonight I can sleep comfortably, with a little bit of Chihiro in my heart 🙂

You Live Right Here

You Live Right Here

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When poets forget how to

Make people cry,

When all of the airplanes

Start arriving on time,

 

When all those who care can no longer try,

Never forget that I love you.

 

When all of the music is

Spoken and not heard,

When the words that we speak

Become mundane and absurd,

 

When the paths that we walk take the darkest of turns,

Never forget that I love you.

 

When the mountains collapse

And the oceans overflow,

When hatred at last

Becomes all that we know,

 

When God calls His people and nobody shows,

Never forget that I love you.

 

Never have I met,

In the time that I’ve lived,

A girl to whom my heart,

I’d so gladly give.

 

A girl who forever and always will live

Right here in my heart,

 

Where we’ll never be apart.