I was eventually going to touch upon this topic sooner or later but didn't feel like being so heavy so early on, on a new public blog. But it's a hot topic right now in the wake of mental health awareness and everything going on.
Kate Spade died this morning by suicide.
The funny thing is, growing up, I tried so hard to NOT grow up. I have somewhat of a Peter Pan/Alice syndrome, hence the way I dress and the activities I still participate in, which aren't exactly age appropriate sometimes for my age group. I don't adult well in some areas and am very child like in my interests and how I spend my free time. I struggle with dressing adult. I want to dress cute and my own style but I know I do have to tone it down for certain occasions. Kate Spade is one of the few designers that meet in the middle for me. I love her prints, bows, glitter, colors and fun designs and yet they are still a sophisticated, clean look. Falling in love with her brand was not only my compromise but also a sign of me slowly growing up. But this is just my digression regarding why Kate Spade is an important brand to me.
The main topic I wanted to touch upon in this post is about suicide. It's a heavy and loaded topic but important. There are so many things I want to talk about, but my thoughts are so unorganized to put them down to paper. Or rather to blog.
Growing up through high school years, I struggled with the regular teenage angst, depression, feelings of loneliness and hopelessness because I was an Asian American teen growing up in a very traditional strict household where these topics were taboo and just didn't exist. Without going into details, I went through a really rough time with my dad growing up since he was so strict and he didn't know how to deal with raising daughters in the American environment. I wanted to just be American normal, he wanted me to be traditional Vietnamese culture normal aka dress conservatively, speak only Vietnamese, be obedient, study 24/7, bring honor to your family, etc. It's hard growing up with the first generation immigrant struggle between kids and parents. And my dad didn't understand that what he was doing was damaging to me and my siblings in more ways than one. Looking back, I'm no longer mad at him, but more understanding that it was hard for both parties. My dad never meant to hurt me, but he didn't know any other way than what he experienced back in the motherland. And I know now that he did really have good intentions, we were both just bad at communicating to each other, and when you're a teenager, every emotion and experience is amped up 10X to make you feel like things are at their worst. That's why you're so dramatic in your teen years.
But the point is, all the events that occurred culminated into a lot of negativity. I felt like things were never going to get better.
I started dating the boy at the time and as teenagers, you have no way of knowing this person is going to be the one, but little did I know, he was going to be the one to lift me out of the darkness. No one really knows but my husband is the one that breathed life back into me and gave me hope to keep going. He spoke of what our lives would be like one day, and described it so vividly. I know because I still have the AIM conversations and emails because girls are crazy and archive everything, lol.
The point is, the picture he painted made me realize I DO want to live. I want to go on and live to see what it would be like. And I'm really glad I did. Everything I've built with my own two hands since then has been beautiful. I accomplished so much starting from so little. I graduated high school second in my class, went on to struggle in college but made it through and graduated with a doctorate (yup, I get to sign my real name with a Dr. in front), had an amazing beautiful wedding surrounded by my friends and family, and have been to so many beautiful places around the world since then. I own my own car and my own house and my life is more beautiful than I pictured it would be all those years ago. But it wasn't always a smooth ride. My life has been a roller coaster with a lot of obstacles thrown at me through the years, but I've learned that no matter how hard something is, I can handle it. You only grow outside your comfort zone. You just need to have strength to get past it.
Unfortunately not everyone has the strength to move past the hard times.
I lost someone really important to me a few years ago and learned that they died by their own hands. It was my first loss and it hit me hard. I was fucked up for a while. I went through the stages of grief and to be honest, I'm still going through it. It's rough. I'm doing better now but I still find myself every now and then rushing through those feelings.
It's hard. You think it's your fault for a long time. You blame yourself for not noticing the signs. For not being a better friend. For not showing more support. It's a game of "What if" and "If only." You get angry at yourself for being such a shitty human being for not stepping in and doing something. You get angry at the other person for being so selfish and leaving you alone in this world. For not seeking your help, comfort and solace. And then you're back to being angry at yourself for not providing a safe enough environment that your friend could feel safe enough to confide their frustrations and pain in you. And then you feel extreme guilt and sadness for feeling so selfish. You feel numb. And then sometimes, you find yourself feeling extremely overwhelmed with emotions and you find yourself crying for no reason out of nowhere. And then you realize it's your pain manifesting itself from your subconscious.
I'm not going to lie, I'm still angry now. I'm still going through the "why did you leave me all alone?" thoughts. Which is probably why the show 13 Reasons Why resonates with me. I finished season 2 about a week or two ago and I'm still fucked up over it.
I love and hate Clay's character because it hits home for me. The big thing you have to learn to accept is that you can't help or save everyone and you're not responsible for everyone. And not everyone can be helped the way you think they need to be helped. You can't blame yourself for everything. But this is not something easily learned or accepted. Grief is a long process and for some people it takes years, if not their entire lives.
I don't know if I'll ever fully heal but I try to take it one day at a time. It's all you can do.
I want to be a better person because of this though. I want to be able to recognize when my friends are hurting. It is hard because some people try to hide it so you can't tell but that's the part that's tricky and needs to improve. I want to be the person that my friends and family feel comfortable coming to when they feel pain. When they need help. When they need a shoulder to cry on or vent. I don't want someone I care deeply for to feel like they had no option out. I want to be able to recognize the signs so I can initiate that conversation. Even if they don't want to talk, I want to be able to see what's wrong and say "Hey, I'm here if you need me." I want them to be able to come to me without shame, embarrassment, hesitation.
And If you're struggling, please don't feel like your loved ones don't care. They can only help you so much as you let them. Don't think you're a burden. Don't think someone won't care. You are loved and people DO care. People WANT to help you so much but we're only human so we can't recognize all the signs. Help us help you. Don't think there's only one way out. Doing that is a very selfish thing. You think you're fixing the problem but it actually only makes it worse. You leave a hole in someone's heart that may take forever to heal. You are loved and you matter. Don't think for a minute you have to go through anything alone. For my friends and family, I want to be the one there by their side.