If I tell the truth, I have considered death instead of life.
For many years I related to being alive as Hell and death as Heaven.
If I tell the truth…
…as my head was being bashed into a wall or stomped senseless
or made to swallow…
I prayed God would end the pain by ending my life.
I have, in socially acceptable ways, tried to kill myself, without raising alarm.
—Putting my finger down my throat to puke.
—Red wine in a brown paper bag.
—Hot tubs of water.
Self-harm is the precursor to suicide.
When I was in graduate school for my first master’s degree, I became depressed. I was isolated in Ohio among covert racist white people. Peers and faculty.
I felt alone.
I starved myself down to 99 lbs.
When Nanna saw me she started to cry.
Nanna is not a crier.
I told her I was fine.
She took me home.
She loved me back to life.
She cared for me.
She let me know I was not alone.
Truth be told, Nanna has saved my life more than once.
She is the only reason I haven’t ended it.
I just couldn’t stand the idea of her crying over me.
Nanna has been saving my life ever since I was sixteen. She has loved me into wellness. I couldn’t decimate her love by taking my life.
She made it safe to tell her how I was truly feeling.
She bought me Freedom from Anxiety and Depression tapes when I couldn’t get out of bed for six months.
She never judged me for all the bad things I did to stay alive during my childhood and on the streets.
She took away the condemnation.
She gave me personal development books.
She took me to transformational seminars.
She let her lights be cut off so she could send me money while I was in college.
She LOVED me.
Nanna’s love saved my life.
From the streets and from myself.
You never know whose life you are going to save.
You don’t know what people are carrying.
Here’s the truth: checking on a person, listening with a compassionate heart and a kind word can be the difference between ending it all or trying again tomorrow.
In the wake of ‘tWitch Boss’ suicide, (husband, father of three, celebrity) I’m reflecting on why I’m still alive.
And the answer is not my will power, success, accomplishments, degrees. or millions.
The answer is love.
Nanna cared enough to be kind.
Nanna, my 9th grade math teacher, cared enough about a smelly, dirty teen who only came to school to get the free lunch was kind.
I was too beaten down by life to ask for help. All I could do was pray.
Nanna was the answer to that prayer.
She was and will always be the truest express of God made manifest in a human body in my life.
I am so very grateful.
And I am alive.