The Sky Is Blue

The reason I am alive today is because the sky is blue.

Isn’t that one of the stupidest things you’ve ever read?

For as far as I can remember, as soon as I knew about dying and death, I wanted it. It evolved from wanting to run away – to get as far away from everything that surrounded me like water against a ship – to being so still in my place – breathing in my surroundings, looking at them with no longer a motive to move from them or run. I accepted everything that was happening and just let it tear me apart.

All of my teenage years are ruined by sadness, to put it broadly. Alone, and now quiet, the boy I used to be was sad and nothing more. Alone, he did not try to pick up his pieces. He did not seek help. He did not try to be okay. He did not stir his black waters.

As I progressed these years, I got older, tougher, and more brave. Bleeding wasn’t enough, and suddenly I was experimenting with other ways. Why? I don’t know why. I don’t know why I hated myself that much, and when I look back, I am reminded of countless reasons – but I will never know which one exactly sent me over the edge. But I got older. Specifically from 15-17, death was in my eyes.

I searched everywhere for life, but it must have been running from me. I lost grip on everything that tightened me to my place here.

People call suicide selfish because those who love you suffer it. What those people don’t realise is that you think of those people all the time. Suicide can come in the form of a quick jump or fall or descent, but that’s not how it works. You go through just how much it would impact your little sister, you think of the brave face your older one will have to put on, you think of your friends who will always wonder why and if they had something to do with it. You think of everyone, and it holds you rooted for a bit. That’s love. But love isn’t as strong as people think. Love breaks. And that’s exactly what depression does. You start realising your little sister will weep and be scarred, but will go on with her life. Your older sister is strong and combined with your little sister, they will pull each other through. Your friends will fall out of love and care, and their paranoia will cease, and you will become nothing but a name that is honoured every year until there is nobody left to remember the date.

There have been so many times when I have been an inch to death. And I always put myself there. But the sky is blue. And on sunny days, the clouds disperse and the strength of the blue is so beautiful. And sometimes the sky is lost to a mass of cloud, and all is wrapped in a grey that calms a headache, and light misty rain falls like a blessing to soothe the hot blood beneath the skin. I could never kill myself, because the sky was too beautiful, and I would miss it too much.

Flowers Are No Good To The Dead

Have you lost someone you loved?

You know that feeling when someone dies, that helplessness, that loss, like you can’t ever talk to them and tell them that the fight was stupid and you didn’t mean what you said? Or that the boy isn’t and would never have been worth the friendship? And when you think back to all of the good times, and then and ONLY then you realise you still love that person. And for what? They are dead. They died resenting you. They died with your hatred in their heart.

 

Or how about have someone you loved leave?

They go on to a better place, a better future. They leave because they have a new job, or seek a new start, or the other many reasons people go. Have you looked someone in the eyes before they got on a flight and you knew the connection you shared, that line that was always growing, had just hit a wall, and would not grow anymore? Gone.

 

You think you have been heart-broken. You haven’t. Loving someone who you don’t get to love is actual heart-break. Watching them grow, learn, live and love without you. Nothing you can do. They’re gone. The love you have for them? Still as passionate as the day you first met.

 

Take this from me. Flowers are no good to the dead. Ring your boyfriend, tell him you love him. Hold him extra tightly when you hug him. Ask him questions and let him ramble on and listen to every word he speaks. Form yourself as part of him. Visit your grandparents. Joke with them. Do random acts of selflessness. Get flowers delivered to their door. I don’t care if it’s not a “special occasion.” Spend money on them. Go into a shop and buy something that they would like. Get them a spoon and gift wrap it, if only to see them laugh. Remind people how much you love them. Never ever let them question it.

 

If you love someone, tell them. Even if they don’t love you back. Even if it terrifies you to admit it. Let your voice shake. Ask him to be in your life. Try it out. Try love. If he dies tomorrow, make sure he dies knowing your heart is with him wherever he goes. Death isn’t an ending, more a movement. Ensure your heart stays with him.

 

Too many honey tears are spilled. Too many hearts are shattered because you waited and hoped he would come to you. Go to him. Be good to him. If love was a number, it would be one.

 

If it’s you reading this. You, you dope. If it’s you?

Just know that I love you.

No matter how far you go, my heart glides there too.

No matter how dark it gets, my soul will find yours.

And if I never get to see you again? I will never forget. And I will never cease loving you.

(You’re still a moonhead though).

(And I know you love me too).

(^That doesn’t mean you can’t fucking say it to me though).

A Personal View On Death

Death to me, is quite beautiful.

Death is tying a ribbon into a bow and labelling the package ‘Completion.’ It is finally being able to look back on a life and understand the meaning of that life, the question that has boggled philosophers, some of the best thinkers, since life began. Death is an epiphany. It’s noticing the beauty, the impact, the brilliance of someone.

With death comes a treasuring, and albeit a sum of regret too, but we cling on to what we remember of a life only once it’s gone. Death is keeping those memories and always feeling some sort of emotion because of them. Happiness, anger, desperation… In its own dark way, Death will remind you of what’s most important in life, in the most obvious way it can – through expression. Emotion. Elements of life.

Death is endless love, perhaps frustrating in some circumstances, but endless nonetheless. When we lose someone we love, when their life is complete, our love for them becomes immortal, because life can no longer touch that love, it cannot ruin that love, there will be no fights to tear that love. That love is crystallised and therefore unbreakable.

With death comes a terrible feeling that one won’t experience until they’ve fallen victim to Death’s grip. A pain, a sick feeling that was always there, like cancer, just waiting to be exploited. Mourning, grief… Emotions that cause sickness, sickness of hearts, sickness of souls, emotions that will make make you puke up the backbone of your reality and leave you staring at the mess on the floor. Death gives birth to the second part of life, and much like in the first part of life, we are born kicking and screaming and scared and stupid, but we grow. We age. Death prepares us for how cruel both it and Life can be, and will be, and you will see a different world, a world where you will not take ease for granted…But a world where you will appreciate the softness of snow, the flexibility of young glass, the changing colour of the sky.

The Stigma Surrounding Name Changing

Personally, I don’t have two different names. I have one name. Leo Grey is my preferred name, but I wasn’t born with it. I was born Karl Paul Andrew Shannon. I have, and have always wanted to change this name. Why? No reason necessarily, I just don’t really like the sound of it. Honestly, I think that I’d like to change it because names are incredibly personal and considering it’s my name, a name that I and I alone have to live with for the rest of my life (and possibly thereafter) I think I should be allowed to do that without the stigma that surrounds name changing.

From my experience there are many different genres of stigma that originate in different sources. For example, my family. My family were insulted and took it as a direct offence when I told them I wanted to change my name. I quickly added that it wasn’t to disregard my family, I just wanted to. But still, it was taken as offensive. I was young at the time, possibly around thirteen, so I was scolded for this behaviour.

All I knew was that I wanted to change my name. I didn’t know to what at the time, but I wanted to change my name. And me being me, I didn’t let my parents’ outlook sway me.

So I began experimenting with names at that age. I didn’t tell my friends because I didn’t know what to tell them, and I wasn’t sure how they would react. I never mentioned it to my family ever again.

I told my friends when I was about fifteen. I told the ones I trusted that I wanted to change my name, I pretended to those who I didn’t trust and that didn’t know me too well that I had a different name. (Obviously they knew my name was Karl, but I pretended my name was Karl-Max [Max being a name-phase I went through]). My close friends didn’t attack my stance, but instead questioned the idea of it themselves. They said it would be ‘weird’ if I were called something else, that other names probably wouldn’t suit me, but I took this as light-hearted, and truthfully, quite right.

So by the age I was sixteen, I had received a positive and a negative reaction. By the age I was sixteen I had discarded in my head the name ‘Karl Shannon’ and I was ready for the change to become legal. But there were problems. It’s a tricky situation, I didn’t understand what to do, I didn’t have the support of my parents, and I didn’t know my name yet. But the fact that I was ready meant enough for me. I was prepared to face the stigma and fight it tirelessly.

Leo Diarmuid Andrew Grey is my name. Leo (pronounced Lay-O) I chose due to it’s pronunciation and the fact that I just love it. Diarmuid I chose for it’s relation to Ireland. Andrew I chose to keep for personal reasons. And Grey being both my favourite colour and abstract thought. This is my name.

I have different friends now. They find it unsettling. Some say I’m attention seeking. I’m not. Some say it’s just a phase, and I’ll regret it someday. People use this as a backdrop for everything; tattoos, sexuality, hair dying, even fashion. But I did take their sight into consideration. I played with the name. I made it my e-mail address, I featured it on some of my lesser known networking sites, I say it to strangers. And you know what? I’m comfortable with it.

Professionally speaking it’s suspicious to have someone who changed their name, simply because it isn’t the ‘norm’. I don’t understand why this would hinder my ability to preform in whatever way, but I’m willing to explain; you guys watch too much TV. I’m not on the run from the law. Changing one’s name doesn’t make you invisible. Fake ID’s and identity theft isn’t as simple as that. If you ask me, I’ll tell you. I would have changed my name because I wanted to. Simple as.

My family still see it the way they saw it those years ago, which leaves me in a tricky place. I am still lawfully Karl Shannon, but in my mental state I’m not. I have refrained from the legal transition simply because I still don’t completely understand how it works in Ireland, and also because I don’t want the awkwardness in my family that would undoubtedly act as a silent gap.

To summarise, people will find it weird and suspicious when they hear of someone changing their name under these conditions. They are quick to judge, but I judge too. Why do you care? Does my name, old or new, inflict you in some way? Jealousy? Or just old-fashioned suspicion? The stigma surrounding name changing is unnecessary and though it isn’t a huge cause of depression or suicide, I think it is harmful in that it is oppressing self-expression and individuality, and it is outcasting people who don’t fit the norm standards over something so small as a name. It is also a means of guilt-tripping purposely proposed by family which is unfair. We should be who we want to be, without fearing our reputation in the eyes of those we love, or should love.