That Dark Place

When Chester Bennington died last month, like so many people, I was struck by grief. It was especially difficult because of some things I've been going through since April/May.

And today I just learned that, Steph Bristol, a trans woman I met about a year ago, took her life recently.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I knew Steph that well. I met her at Peers and she was gracious enough to tell me a bit about the start of her transition. She was a lively person whose personality and bright light filled a room. It was a privilege having met her, let alone having been on her radar at all.

After the conference, we kept in touch a bit, but not for long. And I deeply regret that.

In talking about this with one of my best friends, she mentioned she'll never understand suicide. I get that sentiment. But I also very much understand suicide. More specifically, I understand the general place a person has to be in to even contemplate it, let alone attempt it. I understand it, because I've been in that dark and lonely place that can lead to the end. More than once.

It's not hyperbole when I say that it's dark and lonely. When you're that depressed, the brightest light is dim; and the larger the crowd, the lonelier it feels.

Depression comes from any number of things or reasons. I don't know or claim to know why Steph felt the need to take her own life, but I would be surprised if being trans didn't play some role. But that – being queer – is a topic for another day.

Right now, I'm feeling a bit of rage. Toward the world and toward myself. When was the last time you checked in with that person you supposedly call a friend? When was the last time you did more than check in with them and actually talked? I know I haven't done my part with a few people I can think of.

Yeah, I get it. You're busy. You don't have time. Bullshit.

One thing I've come to learn recently is that saying, "I don't have time." simply means, "That's not a priority." When you start to look at things this way, it completely changes your perspective.

Let's be real here – we all have friends of varying degrees. We're closer to some than to others. To a certain extent, it's the natural order of things. But we can't expect to be better friends with people if we don't make it a priority to, well, put in the time to become better friends with them. A simple check-in is nice, but in doing more than that, you're telling that person that you're invested in them in some way. That is how we tell people we love them and care about them. God knows the people of this world need more of that.

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RIP Steph.