10/10/2019
Instant lasting relief

I only have one belt. You might call it stupid, but it is what it is.

For some reason I remember clearly the moments when I bought that belt. Perhaps it's because I had the whole day mapped out. I'd be going to a meeting - or was it an event? - in Makati, so I'd pass by Landmark in the morning and get myself a leather belt. I'd be driving anyway, so I don't have to worry a lot about my pants dropping more often than they should. (The day my old belt broke was way worse: Shalla and I were in Kuala Lumpur, on the day we had to fly back to Manila via Singapore. Three countries, two flights, one train ride, roughly twelve hours, and my pants are falling.) After getting myself a reversible, and having an extra hole punched, I put it around my waist and wore it for the rest of the day. Nobody has to know.

Sure, it's still stupid, perhaps. Why don't I buy another belt so I don't have to go through all this again? Well, for one, belts tend to be utilities rather than fashion statements. But, sure, I've dreamed of having one of those knitted belts. I may have considered buying one, but never went out of my way to look for them at stores. And besides, I can be really insecure about how I look, how I dress, and a belt wouldn't exactly go a long way to solve that. Shirts, yes. Jackets, yes. Belts? They're there to keep my pants from falling. I have more pressing things to worry about.

Yesterday, when I stared at this laptop for... twelve hours total, doing nothing, I thought of that belt. It is, I realized, the last component I needed to complete this daydream I've been having for the past few months.

There are sprinklers inside the flat, two jutting out of the side of a beam at the main living area. I imagined hanging myself from one of those sprinklers, just to end it all. But I don't really have a rope, and it would be awkward to buy myself some rope just for this purpose, so how do I do it... yes, my belt. Will it be long enough? Well, this is a fucking daydream, so it will work. When I've given up my last shred, I'll tie one end of the belt to the sprinkler, tie the other end around my neck, and jump off a chair. Instant lasting relief.

I haven't attempted suicide. I don't think I ever will, because ultimately I am a wuss. But for the past few years I've had what you'd call suicidal ideations. It's a handy term in a society that wishes to split hairs, to differentiate. I'd cut my wrists and go to sleep, for example. I'd drink a bottle of bleach. And then I'd actually go to sleep and wake up like nothing's happened, but you just know it'll come back, because I'm the sort of guy you'd take advantage of until everything's been wrung out of me, and I just can't stand up for myself. I'm the guy you'd claim to appreciate and then do nothing afterwards, or worse, mock me behind my back. Okay, maybe you'll say I'm paranoid, but this has happened to me, and since then the possibility has always been there. All the uncertainty has been too much to bear sometimes - most times - and that leads to moments like yesterday, like that belt, and the sprinklers.

Today is World Mental Health Day, and by coincidence, the theme revolves around suicide prevention. It's my turn to think it's stupid, but then I've said my piece on this many times, about how it's not really about convincing those on the edge that live is still worth living, but about relieving ourselves of our guilt for not caring when it wasn't still too late. And you, somehow, think I am wrong, because you do care, and you'll always be there if I need someone to talk to. Bullshit. Those are empty words, especially in these times when all you're asked to do is look after yourself. If you have problems, they say, seek help. But what if you really just can't? Therapy is prohibitively expensive for the majority. Same goes for medication. You talk about changing mindsets but that does little to change the system that's stacked against most of us. The solution, you'll claim, is to go back to this so-called "God" and pray loads, and if that fails, I should just talk to you any time I feel like it. Right, that's bullshit, don't you realize? But it's convenient, for it'll never be your fault. Why is the way I feel still my fault?

And your responses...

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