it’s kind of a funny story

hi friends! it’s national teen suicide prevention week! a lil warning: there are a good bunch of triggering mentions of death n suicide ahead. so, if you’re not up for this, visit the lovely dora @ for the goldfinches or this post from matt @ the lil engine that couldn’t that always makes me cringe laugh in support.

In 2014, I did the best school project I ever have done – I got to create an anthology on whatever I wanted for English. I could talk about anything. I had to write a really big essay as the preface and talk about all of the pieces I’d be using, and I could write about anything. It’s still the most I’ve ever enjoyed an academic project.

The title of my anthology was “life, interrupted” and IT focused on mental illness in young people. It was a crazy experience because most all of the works I included came down to choices rather than first time reading. There’re only so many books, in my experience, that captured what I felt to a point where I could rest in the fact that I wasn’t alone if someone could write about it. I chose Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted and Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Today, I’d like to talk about the latter, and it’s author.

IKOAFS is the kind of book that I had to stop reading after the first three chapters because it was too personal. It was too real, and too accurate, and Ned Vizzini was looking into my head and would tell people how messed up I was because they would know exactly what and how I was thinking. Because I was Craig, and I was Craig right down to the standing on the bridge and feeling free and wanting to jump a year later.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is about Craig, a smart kid with some douchey friends (some (one) of which are okay) who finds himself depressed, and then suicidal. He checks himself into a psychiatric hospital because he wants to get better. He learns a lot & works through a lot. He realises he’s not into the girl he thought he was into. He meets people who help him to work it out. He starts taking his medication again. He chooses to live.

Ski. Sled. Play basketball. Jog. Run. Run. Run. Run home. Run home and enjoy. Enjoy. Take these verbs and enjoy them. They’re yours, Craig. You deserve them because you chose them. You could have left them all behind but you chose to stay here. So now live for real, Craig. Live. Live. Live. Live.
Live.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini

This story is hard. It’s hard because it fits, because it’s mine, because it’s Ned Vizzini’s, and because Ned Vizzini didn’t live.

I’ve always hated the phrase, “commit suicide”. Since I was nine, I’ve hated it. If you commit something, it’s a sin. If you end your life, if you commit suicide, are you a sinner? Are you a sinner for feeling too much? Are you a sinner because it is unbearable to hold up a universe of suffering on a daily basis?  Are you a sinner for wanting it to stop? Am I a sinner because I wanted to?

(The answer is no. This is a topic for another day.)

Ned Vizzini died by suicide on December 19th, 2013. He lived, he inspired, he loved, he wrote, he tried,  he won, he became a beacon for depressed teenagers, he pulled me from the edge, and he died. It was said best here: “the great, unspeakable tragedy of The Bell Jar is now the tragedy of Funny Story.”

Everybody dies. The personalities of Ned Vizzini & Craig, the protagonist, line up really nicely. He captured Craig’s spirit because it was his own and showed Craig’s victory because it was his own. The whole book is based on wanting to kill yourself, and then not. Craig & Ned didn’t line up there.

It’s not as though it’s as simple as stating that Craig lived on and Ned didn’t. Ned could have ended things when he was 23, before he admitted himself to that psychiatric hospital. He didn’t. He could have not written IKOAFS. He did. He could have been so brilliant by doing so much less, but he did more and more and more than enough people will ever be able to thank him to. Ned was strong, and brave, and honest. He was talented. He was – he is – life changing and influential.

Life can be a lot sometimes.

This is Ned’s legacy: he tossed a bright, orange-and-white ring to us drowning kids and pleaded with us to stay afloat. And we read his words, and we understood, and we eventually made our way to shore.

If there’s something to take from this, from Funny Story, it’s what’s kept me around. It’s what keeps me around.  If you feel like you’re going to kill yourself, or if you feel like you want to, it’s a medical emergency. Call a hotline. Walk into a hospital. Call a friend who can look after you, if you have one. Don’t wait until you think you’re bad enough to be hospitalised. Suicidal ideation is a medical emergency.

Nothing would be better off if you weren’t around. I say that to myself every day. I have to do my best to believe it. I think you should, too.

South African National Teen Suicide Prevention Week runs from the 18th of Feb til the 24th. Take care of yourselves, and of your friends.

Live. Live. Live. Live.
Live.

love & light,
shalom xo

 

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Merry Cringemas! | Blogmas Day 24!

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF BLOGMAS!

I spent yesterday watching Christmas movies and getting proper festive, and today I’ve said “merry Christmas” at least 30 times. My Love Actually count is currently at 3. Hot chocolate and The Polar Express has happened. There has been the slightest bit of a massive family crisis, but it was (is) mostly massive.

On the topic of Christmas movies, have you seen this video? Hazel Hayes, with the help of the FieldDay channel managed to recreate 12 iconic movie scenes in one take. WATCH IT.

The man in the fat suit comes tonight, and I have left no cookies for him. Simply because I ate them — definitely not because I don’t believe. I refuse to be called a doubter.

This year, I discovered a near-first-edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Despite the pdf form of it, it was a gorgeous read, and I thoroughly adored the illustrations. Thank you archive.org!

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I’m really keen to get under the tree this year. Not me – I’m not a present, but the presents are, well, present, and I’m excited to see what’s in the shoebox that doesn’t have shoes.

In my family, we open presents on Christmas morning. In that of my gorgeous friend, Christmas Eve is Christmas – her grandmother used to be an army nurse and didn’t get Christmas off to spend with the family. Christmas is all around, and you know what else is? LOVE ACTUALLY IS ALL AROUND.

I couldn’t resist. I’m going to watch Love Actually again.

Merry Christmas (eve?) everyone! I’m quite proud of myself for mostly making it through blogmas. If you’re feeling particularly reminiscent, you can find the entire season’s posts right here. I never thought I’d do nearly as well as I did! I’ve found some extraordinary blogs and bloggers because of my Christmas craziness, and I’m so thankful for them – and excited to read more of their stuff! To everyone who I’ve met along the way – Merry Christmas!

May your Christmas Day and 2016 be merry and bright! To all of my lovely readers – I treasure you all endlessly. I hope to reach new heights with you all next year – thank you for sticking around.

Happy Christmas!

Love and light,
shalom xo

ps: somebody just started up their fireworks and it is 9:07 pm on christmas eve – can you say READY

Dashing Through The Snow Tag | Blogmas Day 19!

DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW TO GET THIS POST DONE BECAUSE I HAVE THIRTY MINUTES UNTIL IT IS TOMORROW GO GO GO

Rules:

  • Thank the curator
  • Tag 5 other people to spread the Christmas joy
  • Have fun!

Thank you to the magical Sydney who tagged me in this except not really! I’m tagging Maxine, Em, Guilia, Maddy and Kaila!

Name a book you would like to see under your Christmas tree

To be perfectly honest with you all, I haven’t done nearly enough reading as I wanted to this year.I think my foreshadowing was correct. Eugh. I would however love to see Emma by Jane Austen? Also, The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir?

 A book you’ll be reading during the holiday season!

BEING AND NOTHINGNESS BY JEAN PAUL SARTRE BECAUSE I AM A PHILOSOPHY NERD. I’ve also got my hands on a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with some of the original illustrations, and I love it.

Favorite Christmas movie?

I actually don’t watch that many Christmas films! (Do I get my festivity card revoked now?) I do, however, watch Love Actually almost every year, without fail (and giggle at the “massage them” part. I was seven when I first saw it, okay? I blame it on nostalgia.).

Do you like snow?

I’ve never seen snow (that I can actively recall)! It snowed in 2007 in South Africa, but I was in Nigeria at the time, so I missed it. I did see snow when I was a tiny tot in America, but I can’t remember that. I do like snow, though. I love the cold more than anything else (I’m looking at you summer, you awful season you) and I hope that when I do see snow, I will like it.

Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with

MMMM tough one. I’m going to break this up into a character from a show and one from a book – TV Show Webseries wise, I’d say the gang from Carmilla (without the crazy demon time and all that), and in terms of books, I’d say The Golden Trio from Harry Potter in the Great Hall. I just feel like nothing really says Christmas like MAGIGALLY APPEARING FOOD does.

To give or receive?

Can I say both? Giving, for me. I like wrapping gifts and making people excited and hearing “oh this is exactly what I wanted!”. I really like giving. I wish I wasn’t so broke all the time.

What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

Hogwarts. Hogwarts, or The Burrow, or a snowy version of London. A snowy somewhere.

Fondest Christmas memory?

I haven’t really got one! But last year, my family and I did a secret santa gift exchange for the first time, and everyone got really festive, and the asshole bit of my family wasn’t present (haha, present) and it was really a lovely time.

Can you say Christmas tree ten times fast, while pronouncing it correctly?

No. I said “shitmas free” twice. I’m not trying this again.

MERRY SIX DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS AJEUKFDSJGFJDSHFIYGHKGTHDG

love and light,
shalom