As a child, I knew that my grandmother's sister died by suicide. She talked to me about it. I could see the effect that it had on her, even at that age. When she looked at her picture, the creases in her cheekbones disappeared.
February 2019: my half-brother's best friend, his brother, died by suicide. The day before that happened, they spent time together; "he seemed like he was turning it around."
I remember how the little boy heard over and over again: "your dad is sick today," but "he seemed like he was turning it around"
Also in 2019, at college in Memphis, I experienced addiction for a second time. As a child, I knew addiction through its effects. Four years ago, I began to see its causes.
When addiction invades, it sticks like glue. The virus splinters and its siren song dissects a person's will with surgical precision. When a habit becomes a necessity, it has its hooks in you.
The human mind is so strong. Right? If you just choose to, you can stop. Right?
Addiction, like suicidal ideation, is, simply, not that simple. In college, I learned that the mind plays tricks on you, memory is a fickle character, and a will to change today can become a surrender to nihilism tomorrow. Even in the next few minutes.
My point is this: addiction and suicidal ideation, these are diseases. They require rehabilitation, not punishment. They require love, not fear, and love starts with the words that we say. It is so easy to not say things. It is so easy to not talk about what's really going on, but how we communicate, and what we choose NOT to say, speaks volumes. Silence can be a form of calling out for help. I want to emphasize: silence is not strength. Asking for help is. We simply cannot do this alone.
So here's what I choose to say:
In 2020, Covid-19 overwhelmed families, mine included. We lost too much, but through suffering comes revelation; in an absence of hope, comes faith.
In 2021, I put my grandmothers love on my arm, because its easier to lose a wallet than it is to lose an arm. Trust me.
In 2022, my world got rocked, literally, and I chose to Seek Discomfort, to put love over fear. My grandmother passed away and I moved home to take care of my grandfather, no matter the sacrifice.
And in 2023... I started running. Every day. At first, just a little; then more, and more, and more, and more. 1,200 miles as of the start of this fundraising campaign, and, honestly, I don't see a reason to stop. After every earth-shattering change that I have experienced in the past four years, I have tried to find a reason to keep going. When my grandmother was taken from this world, I didn't want to be here anymore either. I say that to illustrate that we are not always the makers of our own destinies. But, something I've learned this year by running: we are the makers of our own experiences. Even in the face of adversity and hardship, we are the makers of our reactions.
On my birthday, November 14th (a day I did not choose, I'll have you know), I will be running 26.2 miles and I will be carrying my loved ones with me. Nic will be with me. Patricia will be with me. If you want, I will carry your loved ones too. Just put their name (and/or a photo) with your donation of any amount. I will be running from Downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina to Lando, South Carolina, and back (for a cozy 26ish miles). This is not a sanctioned event, there will be no medal at the end of the race, but I hope to use these miles (and the many before it) to spread awareness for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In the month before this event (from October 14th-November 14th), you can follow along with my training on Strava and Instagram (links below). If you feel called to donate to this fundraiser, 100% of the proceeds will be going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In addition to this online fundraising campaign, I will be donating all of the tips that I receive from my host job at The Little Cafe. I am hoping to raise $500 during this time, so a donation of any amount goes a long way!
If you made it this far into my story, thank you for reading and taking the time to hear me out. I want you to know that change WILL come, there IS a tomorrow, and you DESERVE to see it.
P.S. Special shoutout to Yes Theory for the life-changing content they have made throughout the years. I would not be seeking discomfort today if it wasn't for them.
Strava: Wade Wright