The tragedy and hope of confronting suicide and mental health

The tragedy and hope of confronting suicide and mental health

I grew up listening to Chris Cornell’s music as most other 90’s teenagers did. He was able to easily evince a feeling of sensitive yet aggressive angst with operatic bravura. This ability most likely came from his own struggles with mental health and personal darkness.

I understand what it’s like to be artistic and depressive. I’ve been suicidal for long periods of my life. I’m not suicidal now and haven’t been since January of 2016 when I sort of figured out how to exist in my darkness. It’s work. Daily work. Artists and sensitives have to deal with their environment, and America as a country is very dark. America tries to wear this ridiculous, happy mask to try and convince the world that it’s “so happy!!!” However us sensitives get to swim in the darkness, seeing the realness that others might be able to ignore.

There is relief of mental health troubles, but overcoming these struggles requires the best in us. I’ve found ancient Zen and Taoist concepts of letting go, nothingness, and peace to help me cope. I’ve also found solace in the passion and suffering of Jesus although I’m definitely not a mainstream Christian by any measure. I also use modern mental health techniques like dialectical behavioral therapy to address my anxieties and extreme emotions. I try and use a holistic and whole body approach to tackling mental health concerns, and I believe I’ve found a modicum of success in this respect.

I don’t really blame people for committing suicide because it’s a tough row to hoe, but I definitely think it is a tragic error that tends to amplify your suffering onto other people. I’ve come to see suicide as “self murder,” and I believe that murder is not really helpful in most if not all circumstances. Through this re-framing of concept, I’ve been able to take the romanticism out of my old obsessions with suicide. Mental health concerns challenge us to radically confront ourselves, and this is often a most precipitous mountain to scale.

But I want to say that there are other climbers on this mountain willing to help you if you reach out for help, which is my final point: always reach out for help. If you humble yourself and say “I just can’t figure out how to live,” most likely someone will be there to help you, and often this act of letting go can free us from the notion that we have to fix everything ourselves.

For transgender day of invisibility, I Zeronom, wait, it’s visibility?? Oh how boring!

For transgender day of invisibility, I Zeronom, wait, it’s visibility?? Oh how boring!

Hi I’m Zeronom. It’s Transgender Day of Visibility, and I happen to be classified as a transgender person in our society. It’s not who I am. I am a spirit that has manifested in this lifetime to enjoy planet Earth. My gender expression, or the style by which I communicate is what it is. I don’t really know what I am. I know that I am something, and then that there is whole lot of ignorance.

I do know that from a young age, I really wanted to be friends with the other humans that were called girls. I wanted to act like them. I wanted to be expressive and dance around and sing and be fun. I didn’t know what boy or girl was until I learned that I wasn’t doing “boy” the right way, and therefore I was gay, queer, a faggot, etc. It was an attempt by society to split me and my friends apart into acceptable and unacceptable categories so as to split us up and make us easier to manage and manipulate.

We tell our young boys that they are acting “too girly” so to instruct them on what is the proper and correct way to be a man. This seems on the surface to be a logical extension of a system of ethics, and many Americans see this idea of what is the “right way to be male” as inherently tied into moral and religious issues like whether or not someone is reliable or friendly or helpful or dangerous. But gender is not what most people think it is. Gender is mostly just a sophisticated form of style.

When I get excited about something, I tend to be vocal, and expressive in a physical manner. I might be very talkative or vulnerable in my expression. This is just me. It’s not male or female or whatever. We create those categories, and we as a society say “we should have two genders and not four” or “real men don’t express themselves that way.” The individual people are wavy and dark, and the strictures and codes that we put on ourselves collectively are bright and straight, and the more curvy among us are constantly scraping up against these arbitrary old fashioned concepts.

It’s not that I as a transgender person wants to destroy gender. No, I just desire an upgrade for gender. Gender is currently an 8-bit concept, and we want at least some Nintendo 64 Gender action up in this place already.

When a person is born as a biological female, chromosomally female so as to speak, and they say “I want to have short hair, I want to wear pants, and I don’t want to wear makeup,” they are tolerated. When a person is born as biological male, chromosomally male so as to speak, and they say “I want to wear a dress, I want to put on makeup during the day, and I want to be very expressive with with my mannerisms,” they are shamed to the deepest part of hell and their lives are physically threatened constantly. There are definitely places where this is not true, but it is still the average truth of America.

I’m not ashamed. I love myself. I’m so happy to be me. I hope we can get along. Because I’m here, and most of us are here just to be friendly and help keep this boat above water.

You’re just swinging. Have fun. Don’t worry.

You’re just swinging. Have fun. Don’t worry.

The most important spiritual principle you can learn is that spirituality is ultimately pointless. You are a child on a swing set swinging from heaven to hell and back again, and having the time of your eternal life. Hell gets just so scary that you want to go back to heaven again, and then heaven gets so boring that you want to jump into the fire again. Repeat. Repeat. Laugh. Repeat. If you want to go to heaven, give up on Earth. But Earth is not evil. It’s just forgetting that you are really an angel because you got absolutely tired of that.

Loving my number one enemy: myself

Loving my number one enemy: myself

I think what I most try to do to be sane is to be kind to myself. I used to be so angry and judgmental. I was a terror. Now, I’ve really given up on that. Jesus famously instructed his followers to love your enemies, well often our number one enemy is ourselves. I always thought that whatever this “me” thing was, it was definitely out to totally screw up my life. Now, I just go with life. We’re going this way this week? We’re gaining a few pounds this week? OK, let’s see what happens! Cool! 🙂

And the ways we construct our definitions of why something is terrible are usually quite arbitrary anyways. We think “if I gain weight, I will be unhappy!” We never know how this movie called life is going to turn out. Life is so much more complicated than that. If you really open your eyes to how often your nice little fairy tale narrative doesn’t actually work, you will be blown away by the wonder at how the hell this thing works anyway!

I also really like the quote by Jesus that said “judge not, lest you be judged.” I think most people misinterpret this passage. I understand it to be that if we go around judging everyone else up and down, we will judge ourselves the harshest, and it will be entirely uncomfortable being in our own consciousness.

So I’m working on being nice and respectful to myself. I definitely was raised to be very harsh on myself, and I just about died from it. Now, my perfectly imperfect self is my friend, not my enemy. What fun!

Jesus was a Psychonaut and So Are You! But don’t worry so much about it…

Jesus was a Psychonaut and So Are You! But don’t worry so much about it…

Life is just too amazing for words. I just bask in the glow of the light of love from above and below and all around. I’ve had a tough life, but I feel blessed with my struggle. It has been the tiny irritant that produced the marvelous pearl within my oyster of a life. Shucks, I am all open up and shining to the world. My pearl on display. What I thought was a disaster is now my highest grade.

I think Jesus was just a turned on hippie wandering through the Levantine desert looking for a little bit of resurrection. It doesn’t even matter if he existed, but he, or they or we exist. Jesus is the idea that we can become something beautiful in the midst of disaster. It’s possible old Ishoa (that’s how his name would have been pronounced in Aramaic, found some funky toadstools or some Acacia brew that had some of the magic messengers in them. Humans are quite intelligent beings, and we’ve been finding ways to get high for as long as, well, forever. Somebody got turned on, and they wrote a story. The word Gospel is derived from the roots of “good” and “spell” which means that it was a good story. It’s the story that matters. But stories like myths are vehicles for getting us to understand ourselves better.

When you have a shamanic journey or Joseph Campbellian Hero’s Quest kind of experience, you are usually lacking for words to explain what happened. You know that there was a big ass change, but you don’t really know how to communicate it to other sentient beings that you are bumping into on this rock. So you start to use metaphors. “Dude, my consciousness was totally liquidated with love and connection to other beings, and the visuals I got were that I was inside of a whale!! It was awesome!” “OK Jonah, we get it, you’re a psychonaut, now are you going to finish that hummus or what?!” [A stoned guy in the back of the room scribbles down a drawing of Jonah inside of a Whale after he puts down his cannabis pipe].

We’re all desperately trying to figure out how to use our own machinery. Well some of us  are decidedly not trying, but most people are trying to figure out a better way. It’s all just configurations, and the switches must be thrown from the inside. You can’t just sit down next to a Buddha statue and think that the statue is going to flip the switch for you. That is what’s called Spiritual Materialism. Ultimately, you don’t need any of those Buddha statues or cool stories about whales or a guy walking on water. You need to develop the muscle within so that you can flip those switches yourself. It is a workout. You have to get in spiritual shape. Everyone has a level of spiritual fitness that is objective although we cannot measure it with scientific equipment at present. That might happen in the future when the Midichlorian Detector 5000 Galaxy Urge Level Nexus  comes out (did it come out yet?), but until then we have to go on our internal sensors. There is something there. I know it. It is real.

Find your peace. Once you build up that spiritual muscle, you can tell a mountain to move, and it will kindly get out of the way. I use a system of BLACK MAGICK. (Buddha, Laozi, Abraham, Christ, Krishna, Meditation, Alchemy, Gratitude, Intuition, Compassion, Karma). But we all have our own systems. Get to know yourself, and above all believe in the unbelievable. You need to be able to radically re-envision your life. Throw off the shackles of “crazy” and “strange.” You have to go crazy to get sane in the modern world. This is not to say that there is no right or wrong or whatever, but you have to understand that you can put down the rules for a while and then maybe pick them back up. Unfortunately life is much messier than the blurbs in the social studies textbook you lugged around in the 7th grade made it out to be. But you have a magical computer inside yourself! Learn to use this magical device, and you will survive! Because you are a human, which is a magical being of limitless possibility.

Happy questing my fellow adventurers. I’ll meet you at Inner Space Camp.

What does it mean to think for yourself? Well let me tell you so you don’t have to figure it out for yourself!

What does it mean to think for yourself? Well let me tell you so you don’t have to figure it out for yourself!

So, for whatever reason, I was born with the “I know what I’m talking about!” gene, even though most of my life, I’ve said some pretty dumb things. My mom was also rather strong-headed. Also, my life has been rather peculiar, and I’ve been forced to sort of “go it alone.” I’m used to being called weird. I’m a 6’2″ transgender woman, wannabe Shaman, writer, composer, performer, poet with graduate level education who drinks cough syrup for fun. The thing is that I tried to be normal for a long ass time, and I just hated life. So at my third decade on this rock, I just said fuck it! and I trotted off into Weirdville and never looked back.

I suppose I’m going to be Major General I. Zation in this post, but meh, we’re all kind of judgmental; we’re human. I do practice Buddhism along with other doctrines, but I don’t think totally destroying your ego is the be-all end-all of philosophical decisions in life. It’s a balance. We’re all half Indra and half ant in this life.

So, I look around at America where I live, and my basic assumption is that about 90% of people don’t make decisions for themselves. They are fundamentally irresponsible individuals. Whatever, some people want that, but I think it has gotten to a toxic level. But what does it mean to be a responsible individual thinker? I’m just asserting my hypothesis here, but the way I see it is that every true original thought has to go all the way down. It has to have philosophical underpinnings so to speak. And this is not easy to most people especially in a country that actively tries to keep philosophy from people. And then when you go to the “philosophers,” they tend to be even more confusing, so people just stick to superficial memes or idea macros. They just get the frosting and not the cupcake. Most westerners sit in front of a TV for 4+ hours a day trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do. They wait for society to tell them what to do. Then, when they learn that they are supposed to LOVE Hot Pockets because “that commercial was so funny! And did you see they have tastations in them now?! I mean WOW!” It’s a form of self-hypnosis and self-delusion. You can survive that way, but you will need your options to be radically limited, and you will be addicted to being told what to do.

I’m very far from perfect in the always making great decisions department. I know that alcohol is very bad for me, and for the most part I’ve totally given it up, but sometimes I think “it can’t be that bad!” And then I go drink a little, and I suffer for it with depression and anxiety for a day or two. I am alcohol intolerant, but I still drink when I shouldn’t. I’ve only drank about 4 times in the last year, but it’s still too much. But I do try and work on making better decisions that more align with my system of philosophy. And I’m getting there. I have breakdowns and freakouts, but life is tough. If it was easy would we have materialized here? Probably not.

Gandhi said that “the end is inherent in the means.” How I interpret this is that when you perform an action (the means), you are implying a certain philosophical system. I do not believe that you can get away from philosophy. Most people say “philosophy?! I don’t need that!” But in saying that statement they are saying that critical thinking and systems of ideas and thought are unimportant. This is a basic philosophical position. Also, I believe that philosophy makes you a much stronger and more intellectually solid individual. Donald Trump could come up to you himself and say “You’re a stupidhead! Sad!” and if you know what you know all the way down, he is powerless and impotent.

I suppose I’m preaching to the choir here with this post, but writing helps me codify my own personal philosophy. Have a wonderful day my digital friends. 🙂

how you go

how you go

Sometimes when you’re going, striving
reaching for that just too long flower
there are voices in your head
that whisper different possible deaths
to what you’ve started
how you go
the feeling of this life’s long show

And so you go on knowing
that you’ve already fallen down
but failure is just imprecision
it’s the getting up that knows

When you see it in your heart
where only laughing jeerers taunt
you spread your arms in wise acceptance
and sit to sip of the godly font