One year ago today, my life changed in ways I could never have imagined. On October 24th, 2016 I died. Though I didn’t draw blood that day, even though I didn’t swallow the pills that day, I was already dead. I was committed to a heinous act made out of fear, depression, anxiety, pain, sorrow, suffering, and irrationality. Physically I was still here. But spiritually and mentally I was already dead.
On October 24th, 2016 I was going take my life.
On October 24th, 2016 I wrote my last will and testament on notebook paper. Signed in the tears of my own blood. It would have been sealed in the blood drawn from my body. A final statement whispered from the mouth of a boy ready to die…
On October 24th, 2016 my life ended.
And on October 24th, 2016 I was reborn.
I wasn’t ready to leave this world. Despite all the pain I had endured, despite everything I thought was wrong with the world, despite what I intended to do. A part of me was still fighting, a part of me still believed there was hope.
On October 24th, 2016 that part of me saved my life. A plea for help is what it really was when I texted my best friend that simple message, “goodbye.”
She called me. She knew what was wrong, and without her, no one would have known. I would’ve gone through with killing myself. But thanks to her help I made the call that saved me.
I didn’t really die that day, at least, not physically. But it was because of that day that I resolved to change my life for the better.
In the past year, I have changed in more ways than I could imagine. Today, on October 24th, 2017 I’m alive. I’m living life and have realized the statement, “it get’s better,” is true.
This is a dispatch, a place I went, a story of that place.
“Chicago Tattooing & Piercing Company” on Belmont Avenue is where I went. A year after my suicide attempt I came here to mark on my wrist that my story isn’t over. Now the words, “Still Breathing,” are etched into my wrist— in the same spot where I would’ve opened them.
A bold statement about how far I’ve come, the ways I’ve grown and the ways I’ve changed. Today, I love the life I am living. I made a statement today by permanently marking it onto my body. Branding a moment into my flesh, a constant reminder that I will not give up, that I will not give in.
As I stepped into the Tattoo parlor, a few people mingled around, waiting on tattoos and piercings, or simply waiting for friends.
I told them what I wanted. And they made it happen. Tattoo designs litter the walls of this building, an art form I never really recognized until recently. None of them as meaningful to me as what I put on my wrist today.
It was a bold move. One full of symbolism. “Still breathing”, a song by Green Day, the concert I went to with the same friend the night prior. I remember it well. “Still Breathing” was the song she said reminded her of me, after my suicide attempt she couldn’t listen to the song for a while.
But this morning, her and I both listened to it when we woke up. Which is why I placed it on my wrist. It took a long time to get healthy and I can confidently say I will never turn to suicide. And the artwork on my wrist will remind me of that for years to come. It will also remind me to keep fighting, to be strong, and to be resilient.
This isn’t supposed to make you cry, this isn’t supposed to make you feel for me. This tells my story in truth. This is supposed to remind you to live. To be strong, to grow, to be bold. This is a dispatch that shows you, I will not give in.
There isn’t much to the Tattoo parlor, other than what it means to me. I don’t know it’s history, I don’t know it’s full story. But now it is a part of my story.
The story of how I died and got back up.
A story I still have so much left to write.
(By Kyle Marks/Student CoS)