Love Changes People

Evade, avoid, repeat. That’s my motto. Lately, it’s become more of an anthem. Some days, it works.

Tonight, for example, I didn’t notice that my open letter to my friends and my family wasn’t liked by even one of  my family members on any of six social media outlets. I didn’t notice that out of 338 Facebook friends, only a handful read my letter or liked it.

In fact, It almost slipped right by me that out of my last 20 posts, only three family members interacted and the exact same 25 people.

No, I didn’t notice at all. It doesn’t bother me…

“It’s just Facebook!”

I also didn’t notice when child abuse, domestic abuse, and violence, started trending and not many shared my message then, either.

A few wrote to tell me “I wanted to share it, but…” I understood. It’s hard to think about that kind of violence.

I would know. I struggled to write it.

Approximately 3 million reports are made annually, which include more than 6 million children. But we all just continue to watch. Meanwhile, CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman, an “expert,” wants to refer to the line between discipline and abuse as a gray blur?

I guess she’s never been a victim.


The same thing happened the first time my work was published by Elite Daily. #YesALLWomen began trending on Twitter, sparked by the Isla Vista Shooting.

Instead of mourning the victims, we placed gender against gender and one kind of pain against another, rather than addressing that we have a culture of violence.

#YesALLWomen is an important and meaningful hashtag. As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, I understood that. But as someone who experienced the death of two classmates and the tragedy of the Columbine Massacre when I was a high school student, it was frustrating to watch the world divert the attention away from the lives that were lost.

When I was 15, I remember thinking to myself that what I was hearing about would be a part of history one day. I never imagined we would allow it to become a way of life.

My friends and family struggled to congratulate me or share it the same then, too.

I called my mother and father and told them that day, even gave them the link to read it. Six hours later . . . silence.

No big deal. People forget how you made them feel, right? Maya Angelou reminds us that’s not true:

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

We all deserve to feel loved.


When I began advocating for suicide prevention, I blogged an article to kick it off:

Everyone is Talking About Homosexuality, But No One Is Talking About What Matters.

Less than 24 hours later, I realized that if I wanted my message to be heard, I needed to change the title. People wouldn’t read it and they definitely wouldn’t share it, if it alluded to a lifestyle they consider immoral, sinful, or perverse.

If I reference homosexuality or if I advocate on behalf of a transgender adolescent, I must be one of those people:

Leftward thinking people truly do whatever it takes when it comes to convincing others that their lifestyle — and other lifestyles — are simply equal expressions of human life.

As expressed by a Christian blogger.

Telling someone Jesus loves them is not the same as telling them you love them. Jesus can’t tell our children how much we love them or how important they are to us. Jesus can’t tell them how much they matter to us.

That’s our job.

Leelah just needed to know her parents loved her. She screamed it. She needed to know that her life mattered to them; she mattered.

When I was her age, I attempted suicide. It has taken fifteen years to admit that, but it took my church seconds to deem me unfit for ministry contract I had signed. In fine ink, it disclosed, “Perfection required.”

I guess I wasn’t called or anointed. I guess I’m not a leader. I’m just a sinner. My life didn’t matter. I didn’t matter. Only good Christians mattered.

At least that’s the message they sent. Now, as an adult, I know they were wrong, but back then I didn’t. I hid the truth, carried the guilt and blamed myself. I wish I hadn’t.

I’ve read the bible. For me, this was the verse that screamed among everything else:

Three things remain: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

I can’t help but wonder how many people viewed Leelah’s suicide note the night before her death and chose to ignore it.

It doesn’t take a Bible or a hashtag to share your faith, show love or save people. If you want to change the world, it’s simple.

Go spread love throughout it.


Someone in your life is sitting at home right now and they’re wondering why they should go on living. They’re suffering in silence and painting a smile because that is what we’ve come to believe is normal, polite and expected. But they’re lying. They’re desperate, broken, hurting and alone, and silently thinking,

I don’t matter. No one cares. If I die tomorrow, nobody will notice. 

They say pain changes people.  I’ve come to find it true myself, but so does love.

Love changes people. 


https://gracedurbin.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/even-god-must-get-the-blues.mp3

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Ferguson Has FINALLY Stopped Trending [Poem]

Two lives.

Stolen.

Injustice mourned.

Voices raised.

Hands up.

Sons.

Trending.

Four women.

Rape.

Four students.

Bullied.

Action sought.

Voiced raised.

Signs up.

Daughters.

Trending.

Thanksgiving.

Turkey and dressing.

Macy’s Parade.

Turkey Presentation.

Trending.

Seven days of thanks.

Stuffing our bellies.

Eating our pie.

The others?

Starving.

The trending?

Dying.

Our culture.

Trending.

Nothing is wrong?

We schedule

When to give thanks

When to love.

This is our culture.


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I Attempted Suicide & I’m Not Sure It Was Wrong

It was just after Thanksgiving. My head was pounding, and I was freezing as my feet hit the pavement running.

My parents had gone to my grandma’s house for leftover turkey and dressing. I stayed home, eager for the time to myself.

While they were enjoying their family dinner, I took a bottle of Tylenol: 350 capsules. It didn’t help matters much that I had taken a muscle relaxant from my mother’s collection.

I wasn’t suicidal.

I had a migraine from running.

At least, that is the story I told.

By the time my boyfriend found me, my body temperature had dropped, my lips were blue and I was freezing.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

When I was 15, medical professionals tried to tell me that it was “depressive disorder.” Even then, I knew better.

While on Facebook, some days, just viewing my profile can cost me an entire day or a few hours. It’s one day one minute, and the next minute, it’s Tuesday.

The days just disappear and so do the hours. Facebook regularly prompts me to update my profile and poses this question:

What are some of your favorite memories?

I should mention . . .

I also have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

As an adult, I have learned that extensive physical and emotional trauma have conditioned my brain to a specific, organized, way of thinking.

Some days, it feels like it did the same to my emotions.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what at the time, but something changed just before I started seventh grade. I stopped going by my first name. I adamantly went by my middle name and became verbally aggressive if challenged otherwise.

Please, call me, ‘Grace.’

I also took a creative writing class that year. When we returned from Spring break, we were assigned a writing project prompted with this question:

What was the favorite part of your Spring break with your family?

In tears and confused, I approached the teacher’s desk and quietly whispered that I had nothing special to tell about my Spring break.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

I can’t remember what happened that year. There were many hard years. My counselor tells me,

We have a way of blocking the hard parts out.

I’d like to know what she considers as hard. 

The teacher told me to write about any happy memory with my family instead. On that day, I realized I didn’t have any happy memories—not one.

Not that I never had any happy moments, that is just how my mind works.

Ethics

As a teenager, if had succeeded in taking my own life, would the decision have been ethical? Would it have been right or wrong? After all, I was the victim of an abusive culture and upbringing, innocent in my youth and my thinking.

I was a child.

If mental health did not play a role, but rather a pure response to real trauma, would you tell a child he/she is selfish for escaping abuse the only way the child knew how or does the abuse give a logical and acceptable justification to suicide?

Physician-assisted Suicide is legal in the Netherlands, currently being determined in Canada, and moderately approved (with restrictions) across the United States. According to the American Medical Association:

Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act (eg, the physician provides sleeping pills and information about the lethal dose, while aware that the patient may commit suicide.)

If the physical need for an escape from pain or the fear of the pain that is coming is an ethical justification for suicide, then, wouldn’t the same be valid in the case of a teenager escaping physical abuse or other trauma?

If suicide is justifiable for any reason, what gives anyone the authority to govern who and who does not deserve to choose if they live or die?

If an adult, undergoing extensive medical treatment for a terminal condition, can choose to end his/her own life at will, why would an adult undergoing daily pain and torment not also deserve that same right?

Wouldn’t it be “ethical” to determine that is for the greater good of all who are hurting to cease suffering, if possible?

The problem is human nature. It makes the majority believe that the method by which death is achieved is not moral. 

I would by lying to say that I am not torn on the topic. Losing a loved one to suicide feels like a shock to the heart. It feels like an injustice, like a life was stolen.

A close friend who lived in my neighborhood was shot in the head during the summer of 1996. His name was Michael Lime. At first, they tried to claim it was suicide. Then, there was rumor and speculation of murder. In the end, it was chalked off to boys playing with guns.

But nobody really knows because we don’t talk about it.

Why do we fight against the justification, ethical theory and legality, of suicide being socially acceptable?

Morals.

If we determine and declare that suicide is an acceptable way of dying, what message do we send our children, friends and family, when they reach out during that moment when life feels like too much?

In those moments, we want to send one message:

Choose life!

So, we declare it unethical, immoral, sinful, selfish and crazy. But is it?

To want to escape something unreal, unimaginable and unbearably painful, is that unethical? Is that wrong?

I’m not sure, but I choose life and every good or bad day it may bring.

I choose life.


Suicide Prevention

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