When I write the subject matter is often about the suffering of women as told and experienced by African women. I see first hand the effects of patriarchy in African society, Nigerian society specifically. I like to write about our sufferings. How tradition, culture and religion are used to oppress women and as justifications for the mentality that women are lesser beings than men.
Trigger Warning: contains references to suicide
Have you ever felt like ending your life? Slitting your wrists and dying relatively painlessly as the blood seeps through your cut-open veins into a tub full of warm water.
If you have, then we’re kindred spirits of the worst kind. Unified in the desire to die.
If you are reading this and you can relate, then we are also unified by our decision to keep on living. And I use the word ‘living’ in a very loose sense. Existing maybe.
Our reasons for wanting to die however is where the diversity comes in. I once knew a man who wanted to die because the woman he loved left him. Another, because he was in debt. Many others, because of the voices in their heads, urging them to answer their calls. That’s all well and good. But this... shall I say narrative is for those who want to end it all “simply because”.
I probably lost you at that juncture. But I’ll explain.
My reason for wanting to end it all, well for considering it, is dissatisfaction and disappointment.
Reality has let me down.
My imagination is the bane of my existence, however, it is also my coping mechanism in a life so full of mediocrity and dullness.
What I see and hear and feel and experience is nothing compared to what I can concoct in my head. The lives I’ve lived, the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met all within the realms of my mind. Reality pales in comparison and that, is the basis of my problem.
This morning, while I ate, I thought of death as a medium of rescue from it all. If I were to die today, I would no longer feel disappointment or pain or anger or sadness. But what stops me every time I think these thoughts is the counter that if I were dead, I would feel nothing at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything physical that has ever come close to triggering the sort of orgasmic catharsis the right array of thoughts bring. What I am saying is that at least with life, we can feel and think.
Death is finite. The end. Nothing. But with life, there are infinite possibilities. There are moments when everything doesn’t feel like such a complete waste. Those moments when we are really alive and living, not simply existing. This is what stops me from overdosing or jumping off a bridge every time the mood hits.
This is not to make you feel optimistic. The ecstasy life brings is fleeting which is why man is in an eternal race to find meaning and happiness and fulfillment. The feeling of emptiness is never completely gone. It lurks and waits for whatever is your source of joy to fade out so it can take its place until you find something else to replace it.
So I’ll probably never stop having these thoughts. It’s a cycle you see. One where we’re not okay at the end.
Falaiye Atinuke is a law student at the University of Lagos. She is a proud feminist, an avid reader and a lover of all things literary. She can be reached on Twitter at @chocomocococo