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a girl for all seasons

That's not the real title of the play, of course. That would be "A Man For All Seasons" and it's a play by Robert Bolt from the sixties, just newly revived now on Broadway with Frank Langella in the title role [Ian, it's worth the trip.] I caught a preview matinee yesterday. It's set in England, 1529 - 1535.

At the end of the play, ex-Chancellor Thomas More is put to death over a sexual issue involving the King and his new wife and his old wife. [More didn't like the morality of the King.] One of his last speeches jumped right off the stage at me:

"Death comes for us all; even at our birth, death does but stand aside a little.
And every day he looks towards us and muses somewhat to himself whether that day, or the next, he will draw nigh."

It affects me because something like six Friends on my LJ list here are now actively suicidal. At least one is on suicide watch. I fully expect that death is going to "draw nigh" quite soon. Maybe he already has. Maybe for more than one.

It also affects me because one of them is making a scrapbook about Ki as a therapy device. I'm reviewing a lot of LJ entries for that. And finding hope. And anguish of course.

During the matinee intermission, I talked briefly with a counselor specializing in alcohol and drug abuse. She said that one of her issues at the moment was realizing that there is only so much you can do to help, whether someone continues to destroy themselves with alcohol and drugs is solely their decision on the bottom line --- and she needed to be careful not to take on all that pain and despair to the extent that it would damage her own life and professionalism.

Kiota and I talked somewhat about this also. Over the years she alternated between being terribly damaged by what she was exposing herself to --- that, and being determined to help find the light for her online "clients" in need. We talked about how hard it is to maintain professional distance and still communicate caring --- and she + I are certainly only amateurs with a bit of experience.

One of my other Friends -- who is definitely NOT suicidal nor on watch --- told me a few months back that she is not surprised at all that my Flist suddenly grew by the dozens to 50, 60 and more. Her comment was that many here just moved over from Kiota once she was gone because they thought they would continue to get sympathy, encouragement in their personal damage and destruction, all the things they were getting from Ki.

I'm not sure [then, or now] that I totally agreed with that point of view about who Kiota's Friends were and why she added them to her friendslocked LJ [and why they added her to theirs.] But it gave me a whole lot to think about.

But there is one thing that is becoming lots more clear to me. LJ is certainly addicting and burns time, and I only started my own because Ki wanted to be sure, in August 2007, that I could continue to stay in her cyberlife. What is clear now is that at some point I will stop posting because I realize, more and more, the limits of what help I can be to anyone and because I don't use this blog [or any blog, in fact] as a main source of social contact.

LJ is lots of fun to play with and I certainly have a bunch of trip pictures to post, probably will import them from deviantArt [another Kiota encouragement], but there are a lot of limits to online dialogue that just are not there in real life. Lotus82, Ki, and Naatz all taught me that, in the last few months.

I'm also about light. Many here are not. Much of the time I don't feel that many people hear me. Or want to.

And that's fine.

One of the LJ freedoms: online Friends appear, share, disappear. The click of a button or two. "Their choice, your choice" is how I once put it to Ki.

What we don't have much of a choice about is sudden death. When he comes to you, perhaps randomly. Or even when you invite him. As Ki complained for a long time, "It's not my fault I keep living."

Maybe that's why I choose the light, which you never see fully unless it's contrasted with the darknesses.

For some who read this, darkness is all you have, and pain, and loss of hope. Maybe I'm blessed never to have had that in my life [for very long, anyway.] Don't know. Understanding comes slowly, and not all of it happens while we live in our bodies. Anyway, I certainly am learning a lot from you.

Being a girl for all seasons means that the cycle of seasons goes on endlessly. Years ago Kiota adopted a DeviantArt montage by Enyala called Autumn Whisperlings as her default icon. Enyala even posted an enlargement of the faery face for K to use. And she used it right up through her last post she left us. Enyala conceives of her seasonal faery, who lives only a short time, as death in autumn coupled to a natural prelude to rebirth later. As the following summer wanes, Whisperlings appears again, to fly around and color the leaves.

So I love that. The turning of seasons are promises. And hope.

Whether it's in the superb artistic work onstage that I saw yesterday or everywhere in the world.

Or in my life. Or in Kiota's. Or in yours. For however long.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
I think you need to read this. Pronto; I'm serious as a heart attack! And then please e-mail me -- we have things to discuss!

Besides that, I think what you're saying here is that the Internet has limitations and if you really think you're responsible for saving six people from committing suicide, you yourself will become sick. And you can't do that, and you're right. LJ -- the Internet, period -- is not a good place to get help when you're suicidal. A suicide hotline or a real live person is what you really need just about then, and there are plenty of hotlines, at least. Also, people will gladly suck you in if you're available. Hey, I did it, and I had to learn not to, because it wasn't good for me OR the other person.

*big hugs*
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:27 am (UTC)
Hey, Amy at midnight plus three hours! Five, here.

I just Gmailed you before I got over here. Three or four Gmails, in fact!

And I added your new poetry LJ earlier this morning! Lots of gifts from you today.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
Awwww, thanks! *hugs*
Oct. 2nd, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC)
If what I write in my journal ever bothers you too much, please please please let me know and I would not be offended one bit if you want to stop reading it. I want you to do what is best for you. Though I'd like to continue reading yours, if you don't mind.

I would say the last thing that Ki ever gave me was sympathy. In fact, she was brutally honest at times, which I appreciate very much because it is was ultimately pushed me to seek out help. In addition to telling me what I needed to hear (which no one else was brave enough to tell me), I was comforted by the fact that she understood what I was talking about. And because she understood but was still alive and kicking, it gave me great inspiration and hope for the future.

Originally I added you to my friends list because you were like a piece of Anna to me, and I cling onto anything I can find of her for fear of losing her altogether. You openly wrote (and still do) about Ki, which in a sense was keeping her alive. But I quickly realized that you are not Ki and you never will be. Sure, you were a part of her life, and she was a part of yours. But you are your own person, a very interesting one at that, and I enjoy hearing what you have to say. And your light is also very inspiring.

I agree with you, there are a lot of limitations in the online world. Kiota certainly would agree, too. I would much prefer someone live most of their life in the real world than the online one. This is a little hypocritical coming from me, I know. I try to escape the real world as much as possible because it causes me way too much anxiety (though I am trying hard to turn that around right now). Whether there is an online world or not, I would still be withdrawn from the real world. But I think that even living online is better than not living anywhere at all.

And you are absolutely right that whatever a person does is their own choice. There is little you can change about that even in real life, let alone in the online world. You are not at all responsible for what a person chooses to do, and are most certainly not responsible for saving someone else. I am sure you know that all to well with Ki. As selfish as it sounds, the only real responsibility you have is to yourself. If you choose to help someone else, that's great, but there is only so much you can do and they ultimately have to make their own decisions.

PS- Have you gotten my e-mail yet?
Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Last line first: nope, I'll scoot over there as soon as I finish my new post here.

I immediately thought of a blast from Kiota [not to me!] "This is my fucking journal and I will write what I want!" And everyone should have that as their mantra, whether they sing it out loud or not.

While I was still a commenter in her open LJ, I got into a flamewar with one of her Friends [and she and I became very much closer after April, in fact, we helped one another heal.] I remember thinking that online flamewars with others, even on the opposite side of the ocean, were pretty fucking stupid and a great reason to avoid anything to do with LJ.

My, my, my. How times change.

There is absolutely nothing you have ever written in your LJ that 'bothers me too much.' And that is my responsibility to control, not yours. Yes, I am 'like a piece of Anna', by a coincidence that still amazes me --- and I was thrilled to be able to meet two people who were [and are now, perhaps] very very much closer to her emotionally and physically when they were growing up together in Israel. For me, they are a living link to her. So is the director of her school in her home town.

One of the things I don't analyze is why I cherish our online friendship, yours and mine. I just do. I don't always like what your voice says, and that is good, because otherwise you would be feeding me pablum or jello ---- but I always feel good about the times you let me into your world to hear your voice. As long as you choose. Just as in Ki's.

The major thing she taught me was that I could shape a dream out of my love for her and encourage her all I wanted to, but it was her life and her decision about how to accept that or not accept that from me, or indeed to go on living one more day at all, in the first place.

And she teaches me every day that there is a lot more to *life* than your birthday and your deathday. It's a fascinating ride. She often just picks up the walls of the classroom and flies off somewhere with them, never too fast for me to scurry after and catch up. At least, so far!!

Edited at 2008-10-02 02:44 pm (UTC)
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, got your Gmail, replying to it there. Thanks!
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Also, Kala: of course you are welcome to read my J, you always will be. I do not delete anybody. [Well, once I did, two trolls. Awhile ago.]

Another lesson from Ki. There are so many!
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
The hardest thing for me to accept has been how little I can actually help anyone, how little difference I can really make for anyone. I am growing toward accepting that, and achieving peace with it, but it's a slow process.

We are all connected, and it is good that we know it, but even when we notice and we care, we still can't "save" each other from the dark - and if we share it too deeply, it swallows us whole.

You're doing a good job of emphasizing the positive, and reminding us of the beauty that survives, even when we can't keep people alive. It still hurts, though, and that has to be OK. We have to let it hurt.
Oct. 4th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, Ellen. "Don't keep it all inside, like I did." She was talking about being swallowed whole, as you put it. That sentence was in a suicide note she posted for all her Friends at the time. The time was 2003.

She knew the corrosion from not "letting it hurt." She lived that corrosion for a long time, as long as she could.

What I'm finding out is that I can help "anyone" more than the little I thought I could. Including me too.

Blessings Be.
Oct. 4th, 2008 10:35 am (UTC)
I'm also honoring how close Krystle was to you, and is now. I never forget that.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
I have a myspace & found a layout that includes that faery. I've used it for my page for fall. I see it almost everyday & I think of her. To me, that faery IS her. I'll never meet her in the flesh & even though I've seen pictures of her, that face will always be her to me.

I miss her as I've said time & time again. So much so that I'm sure I am a broken record. I write about her in my LJ along with the other things going on in my life when I have the energy to even put it into words.

I suppose I am one of those "train wrecks" that have known more darkness than light in life. I am one that won't discourage sympathy if one feels inclined to give it & I won't begrudge another for choosing to give it or saying something honestly that causes that kind of reaction. Sometimes sympathy is what a person needs.

It is hard to distance yourself from the pain of another, especially if you've been there-- you can't help but relate! And it is hard to not be triggered by another's darkness to such a degree that it causes one pain in their own personal life. This is something that applies to the humanity of every person regardless of their life being mostly "light" or mostly "darkness".

Like many here have said, & you're well-aware, you remind us of Anna. As others have said, you're like a piece of her. You talk about her more than most of us do in our journals & you do so candidly. You speak about her like she's still here, just away from her journal, not like she's dead. In a way, you keep her alive for the rest of us.

Some of us are broken. You have the right to feel about that any way you want, especially in your journal. I'm sure we wouldn't still have your LJ friended if we didn't consider you MORE than just a link to her. You have all of us travelling with you on your journeys to the places she went to & we know she is your inspiration.

I care about you. I hope that you are able to give what little help you can to the ones who are hurting. You don't have to dedicate your life to it or encourage it, & you certainly don't have to go as in-depth as she did-- you're not her. You're you. Only you know your boundaries & if that means taking a break from LJ, then do it; I know I've had to do that time & time again.

Do what's best for you.
Oct. 4th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, Otter. That's special. You are special.

Actually I accepted her "gone-ness" rather quickly: no more Emails, journal posts, debates with abortionists online. Two or three short, sharp emotional jolts and crying last April.

Once I realized that the paths of Anna I cherished the most --- and could relate to the most --- did not have to be hidden from me at all ... that was a big help in my healing and in my going forward.

If I will allow her to stay close and bring gifts to share, she will. It's that simple.

Just posted about the kids in Cambodia she wanted to help. *Wants* to help. And now is.

And you're right about Autumn Whisperlings. Spectacular. it would be fun to meet Enyala someday.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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