Grace’s writing is perfect. I mean, the words she chooses and the way she thinks about her internal states matches some of the metaphors and words that I use inside my head about my internal states. Go read her as soon as you have time.

Especially this part:

They gave me a test to take to see if I was depressed. I filled it out with great suspicion. Doesn’t everyone have “persistant feelings of emptiness or worthless”, “cry for no reason” and “feel they are hurting or bothering others just by being around”? That seemed pretty normal. That was life as I knew it, had known it, for almost as far back as I could think. If other people were filling this test out differently, they were kidding themselves. Who doesn’t “think the world would be better off it they were dead”? Nobody can be that happy.

The therapist as Student Health Services said I should think about medication, but I was unequivocal. So instead we talked about my childhood, everything I’d ever felt shit about. It might have helped. I didn’t kill myself. I turned down anti-depressants repeatedly from doctors at the Student Center, and later at the People’s Clinic. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I thought pills were weak. I didn’t want to medicate the darkness in me, I wanted to kill it. Pin it down and choke the life right out of it. Beat it to a bloody shit with my fists. Then I would know that I did, in fact, deserve to keep living.

It matches just as Cary Tennis’ words and metaphors matches.

I am no expert, but I think that killing oneself in order to relieve one’s pain is a special kind of murder. It is a murder of which we might be said to be innocent by reason of self-defense: There is a person inside us who is torturing us and we want to kill that person. We have split into two. There is the torturer and the victim, and the victim buys a gun. Unfortunately for both, they are in the same body.

If we think about it in this speculative way, we might say that suicide is not really aggression toward ourselves, but aggression toward the person who has invaded us and is torturing us, the murderous, sadistic imbecile who is calling us names, belittling us, bludgeoning us.

The problem is not that we want to murder this person within us in order to stop our torture. The problem is that we confuse physical action with symbolic action.

We must murder our torturer symbolically.


I think Grace and Cary should talk. And I’d like to sit in and maybe listen a while. I’d learn a lot.

But Grace is in Texas and Cary is in California and I’m up here in Portland. So it probably won’t happen.