Avril Lavigne wrote a song entitled, “Things I’ll Never Say” and those lyrics have been on repeat in my for the last hour. Of course I’m going to tell you why, but first the lyrics.
I’m searching for the words inside my head
‘Cause I’m feeling nervous
Trying to be so perfect
If I could say what I want to say
Guess, I’m wishing my life away
With these things I’ll never say
It don’t do me any good
It’s just a waste of time
What use is it to you
What’s on my mind
If ain’t coming out
We’re not going anywhere
So why can’t I just tell you that I care
Earlier today, at work I had to take Theo who is entering into 8th grade in the fall to get some books, because all the books that he has at home are at a reading level that is way too young for him. While we were searching for books, which was a chore (tell me why this kid didn’t even want to go into the bookstore instead he wanted ME to go in alone and pick out a book for HIM to read. When I asked if he was serious he said yeah, you would know what I would like to read. Like Boy, Bye.)
Anyway, while we were in there he found a couple of books and then handed my the book 13 Reasons Why. To which I replied, I don’t know if you are old enough to be reading this book and anyway I have to ask your parent’s first. But, he claimed that he’s seen the show and that he parent’s knew that he watched it. So I said we could get it, but I still wanted to run it by them of course.
Parts of me was like, yeah this book is definitely too mature for him, but then other parts were like he was interested in a book and really wanted to read it, so who am I to stifle that, especially when he hates reading.
Long story short we get home, both parents say no. Dad was an aggressive no and didn’t want him reading or watching the show and was mad when he found that he did watch a little bit of it. Mom was just like a shocked, “yeah no”.
Which really got me thinking, At what age did I learn about suicide?
I think I was about his age. I don’t know if you guys remember the website Xanga. But, Xanga was where I first started online journaling. I had two pages. One for all of my poems that I used to write (they weren’t really poems just stream of consciousness middle school angst) and another was about my everyday woes of middle school. Anyway, since my poem page was more of a secret page I had followers on there that I didn’t really know. I met a girl on there who used to harm herself and we started talking. At first, I just really wanted to help her, she was looking for a friend and I thought I could be that one. I think she had written on her blog that she had been hospitalized a few times for suicide attempts and I think that was the first time I had really heard anything about the word or someone wanting to do it.
Growing up in church, you learn that suicide is a sin. Growing up in my household, you learn that suicide is selfish. So, I learned both.
Side Note Confession: I have thought about suicide a lot. Never far as to how I was going to do it, just really death in general. For instance, as I am driving I think about how easy it would be for me to get into an accident. And not even necessarily with another person, I think about ramming my car into walls or off bridges, etc. Aside from cars, I’ve thought to myself a couple times during self harm incidents what would happen if I cut too deep and couldn’t stop the bleeding. I have never acted on these thoughts obviously, but they are unfortunately still there.
The Xanga girl was one of two interactions that I online with suicidal people. The second one was a friends little sister. Somehow we started messaging on AIM and she told me her story and how she didn’t want to live anymore and I just talked to her. I made sure she was okay, and didn’t want to harm herself so permanently anymore.
I bring this all up just to say, and I asked my friends when they learned about suicide to get a general census (they all said about middle school age), at what age can kids start to learn about it. Also, why not now? If he’s (Theo) is interested why not let him read it and we discuss the themes within the book.
I get not letting him watch the show, I don’t even want to watch the show, the first thirty minutes is already vastly different from the book and I don’t approve. Not only that, everyone that I have heard that watch the series has said that it glorified suicide which I am not here for. But, what I don’t get is why we’re so afraid of the topic. Some people have said that maybe it might put the idea in his head if it wasn’t already there. I feel like that’s not wholly plausible. If someone never thought about murder and watched Dexter or How to Get Away with Murder, I don’t think the idea is now in their head to go and commit murder.
But, I definitely get it. Wanted to shield your child is something that every parent goes through. But, at what point in time are you making subject so taboo that they will feel comfortable coming to you. I know for a fact that I couldn’t go to my parents about suicide because they would just shut it down as something that’s selfish and stupid. So I kept that and a lot of things inside. There were and still are so many Things I will Never Say for fear of rejection, judgement, and disappointment. But, it’s not fair you know?
I’m not just talking about suicide now, but all the things that make us uncomfortable. It’s not fair that we can’t talk about them. Or that we are not allowed to talk about them. I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable talking about the female reproductive system with my girls, or sex in general, or anything of importance. I feel like I have tried to be perfect for so long I have forgotten how to be vulnerable.
There were so many things that I was told not to talk about by so many people that I have just stopped talking about everything. I am very selective when it comes to sharing my information with my friends because at the end of the day I don’t want to get hurt. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to them as my friends because it looks as if I can’t trust them.
The moral of the story is this, I feel like there are certain things that we should talk about openly now that way people don’t feel ashamed to talk about them later in life. Because God forbid Theo’s ever suicidal, I want him to be able to go to someone to talk about how he’s feeling without fear of judgement and ridicule.
I just want him to be able to be open and honest about the same things I am having trouble with expressing now. Which is basically everything.