Life isn’t worth living.
But worth is subjective.
Before we go on, this blog post is about suicide. It both condones and denounces it. If you’re someone who is triggered by this conversation, I urge you to stick around. There’s no healing without pain and difficult conversations are called difficult for a reason.
Stories make the world go around.
We, as individuals or as a collective, are an amalgamation of the stories we decide to tell ourselves. Our memories are not like our hard drives. To recount a memory is to fabricate the story again from the scraps of sensory information that our brains catalogue in a self-destructing, mental filing cabinet.
This high degree of storage inaccuracy and the drug like power that stories have over our consciousness, I believe, is a major root cause of a lot of our mental health woes.
Events of trauma can be recounted as an event fixed firmly in self-fault; thus setting the conditions for one to act out their story as the forever flawed protagonist, destined only for misery of which they are entirely deserving.
These personal narratives aren’t fixed, however. They’re often strong and convincingly binding but rarely are they static. They aren’t confined to our simplistic human reductionism’s of right and wrong either; remaining inhumanly agnostic to the anguish and suffering they cause, compounds the complexities we face when trying to decipher them.
To make matters worse, your own story is without borders. You seep, ebb, flow and muscle your way into the plot lines of those around you and in turn, those around them. The extent to which your narrative empowers and poisons the human race is seemingly limitless, whilst your own self perception remains inherently insignificant.
It begs the questions; where does one story start and another begin? Is my story really my own? How much of what I feel is real and how much of it is from my peers/family/colleagues? What, if anything, is truly valuable in my life and why has this seemingly solid collection of values lost all meaning to me? Am I choosing to feel this low? Why does death suddenly seem like the only option?
All of these are valid queries. They’re uniquely human - individually crippling but so universal they’re boring. One would hope that the banal universality would bring these topics in from the fringe but rarely do we give suicide the attention it deserves until it’s all too late.
Indoor Falconry is an attempt to explore the commonality of suicide.
Lyrically, the aim was to unpack the positives, the negatives and the indifferent by focussing on a two-person dialogue that to many will be all too familiar.
Humans rarely exist in a vacuum and when they do, they’ve often ended up there through a loss of connection; wounded and scarred by the people once in their lives. This is why the dialogue in Indoor Falconry is that between two lovers, (friends, family, partner, whatever).
Both parties are suffering immeasurable pain, both parties offer a solution they portray as best for the other but deep down, it’s really what’s best for them. The struggle is coming to terms with the level of selfish they both have to be for self-preservation.
For the one stood on the edge of death. You’re not wrong for wanting your pain to end. Your suffering is real, your pain is just but ending yourself serves only to end your own hell. Your escape merely passes the burden. Energy can’t be destroyed, only transferred. Your character ends but the plot of misery continues and I can assure you the author pulls no punches on those left behind.
Your lover is also not wrong for wanting you to see one more sunrise. They’re not blinded by the seemingly permanent and self-destructive narrative you tell yourself. But their attempts to salvage your existence are poisonously riddled with valid self-doubt and hopelessness. They fool themselves into believing they can pull you back from the edge, when in reality, only you can, just like only you can make the jump. At this point, to them, saving your life is merely saving theirs.
The song tries to highlight the validity of both party’s anguish. The heat of the moment struggle between your own selfish desires and setting someone free of suffering will test every ounce of your might. Having been on both sides of the conversation, I can tell you that once it’s been had, the impact is forever and the happy ending, if at all possible, is a long mountain climb away.
Ultimately though, there is no right or wrong. Suicide is brave but it’s also cowardice, saving the life of someone suffering is both noble and cruel. The jury will always be out on this one and individual context is too volatile to blanket label a truth. The real crime, though, is the one committed by us all when we deny these all too common experiences. To try and simplify self-destruction as a simple right or wrong is what’s gotten us into this mess in the first place.
Our inability to process someone’s desire to die causes us to seize up and open the suicide manual that maintains a one size fits all attitude to living. I suggest that we keep this topic closer than we ever have. I will forever bring it up on stage because it’s a topic that you shouldn’t be surprised to see anywhere. After all, you’re rubbing shoulders in the crowd with survivors or soon to be attempters. We need to learn to stay calm in the face of suicide, it’s more rational than you think.
Knee jerk reactions rendered through gritted teeth and held breaths have lost us more brothers and sisters than we can count.
There is no answer to this problem because even in the face of a universal human experience, the reasons that lead one there are almost always unique.
All we can do is keep telling and listening to our stories whilst assuring us all that it’s normal.
If you want to talk to myself, Damen or Will, we can’t guarantee it’ll help but we’ll always listen.
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