Back in 2005, at around 11 or 12 years old, I drafted a suicide note. It was pretty long, containing a litany of rants about people and severe bullying instances and countless misgivings that eventually led to my desire for an early demise, at least at that time. 

Written on a torn page of an old gradeschool notebook, it opened with, “If I die anytime soon, it will be because of…”, followed by a list of people and what they did to push me to the edge. It read like a not-so-creative version of Hannah Baker’s tapes, but it was just as pained and resentful. It was, after all, designed to make people regret.

That note was never finished as there were simply too many reasons, and I eventually forgot about it. Not because things got better, but because I thought it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. Years after I wrote it, I have no clue where to find it, but in my head, I found more and more reasons to add to that list. Only that, I never found the perfect day and way to do it. 

Maybe because, I’m not meant to. For years I struggled to understand myself and why I am who I am. Am I hard to love? Do I have mental health issues? Is life just so damn difficult? During my second counseling session on May 4, I realize it’s a yes to the last two questions. And another yes, to a fight well fought and a life well lived. 

With that, here I am, typing away and attempting to revise my 12-year old suicide note. At 23, I take a different angle, and I begin with this:

If I choose to stay another day, then it’s because…

1. I haven’t even started to live yet. Having gone through years of bullying and criticisms from people who are simply out to get me and people who are, by default, close to me, has a huge weight on the choices I made. Looking back now, as a young woman, I recognize that most of them were made to meet the expectations of others. 

I got jobs when I would have wanted to go on vacation after I graduated. I said I would consider some options, personal and professional, that  I don’t even intend to follow up on. Even putting off counseling was a conscious choice meant to preserve the image of a mentally strong young person. I remember having an ex who told me he just saw me as “happy and wise all the time” when I had a really bad day. Though as much as possible I don’t want to go running back to the negatives, I want to be able to go through each day knowing that I am true to myself and free to make the decisions that I believe will enrich my life. 

I got by, meeting expectations. I think it’s about time I start living a little.

2. I haven’t met me yet. Given that I did things mostly to meet expectations, I didn’t really have a lot of opportunities to figure out what I want in life. I’m okay with whatever’s convenient or available, but I need to know what I want and find ways to get to them. That way, I will get to know myself better. 

3. If I haven’t yet, I want to love me. It’s a process that I want to live out for a long time. I owe it to myself to be around to do so, when I have been around to live through everything thus far.

4. I am loved. One of my friends expressed his happiness and relief upon hearing that I will be undergoing counseling. Having seen what I have had to go through, he said it was about time. Because he was also leaving for Canada at that time, he also said,”I would hate for me to have to go back to see you because of some very sad news.” 

It hit me that it matters that I’m gone when I’m gone. And though it’s not easy to believe you’re loved when you’re battling so many demons inside, love will constantly shine a glimmer of hope and home, reminding you that it’s there. And it will be up to you to surrender to it.

5. I love. If there’s one thing 23 tumultuous years and failed almost-relationships and friendships taught me, it’s that I love deeply and genuinely. In this young life, I figure there’s still much of that to give.

6. I haven’t met the love of my life yet. If there’s another thing this 23-year old life has taught me, it’s that I haven’t met my great love as of yet. I’m not looking now, but I sure want to be around to marvel on the moment when it does come. Whether the love of my life comes in the form of career fulfilment, marriage, or maybe a house full of adorable pet tarantulas (kidding, but who knows?), I want to have the privilege of welcoming them into my life. And blogging about them and making cute chibi versions of them and telling them everyday that they’re worth the fight and the wait. Aww. What a lucky man, pet, or job you will be!

7. I want to see my friends get married. They know who they are. Haha. I invited myself already. I even volunteered to become godmother to the future kids already. Love you guys.

8. I want to meet my future nieces and nephews. Because I am willing to bet that I will be a fabulous aunt and they will surely love me. 😉

9.  I want to save up for retirement. The parentals’ and then my own. I want to have enough for the occasional yolo-ing and of course see the parentals spoil the grand kids some day.;)

10. I want to take part in growing businesses. Via Paisley Purpose and other means. I got started already and I will be at it again soon. 🙂

11. I want to design my own wedding dress and walk down the aisle in it. I also want to do that bridal walk holding a flower arrangement from Bloom Buds because why the heck not. And make no mistake about it: even if I have to go to Japan and wed myself, I will because I really want to tick this off my bucket list. *Wink*

12. There’s a dress in my closet that I have yet to wear. And no I don’t want to wear it to my wake. Got it on sale and it’s too pretty. I want to wear it when I’m alive and kicking. 

13. I have to go on an Ignatian silent retreat again. Because nothing beats a couple of days’ worth of solace in and with God. 

14. And speaking of God, He isn’t done with me yet. Faith crisis after faith crisis, disappointment after disappointment, He draws me back. Makes me stronger. Makes me learn. He shows me that He isn’t done with me yet, and though I do find it daunting, I’m also excited for whatever He has planned.

 This reason alone is enough for me to realize that I’m not done with life the same way it’s not done with me. While the most trying times can break even the mentally strong ones to total surrender, it doesn’t mean we all end up the same. After all, we each surrender differently, and we can only trust the response of life and the One who gave it, to turn out for the best.

I’d like to think that they respond by letting me continue with this life. And I’m proud to say that I’m doing so with some help. 

Looking at it now, maybe the reason I can’t find the suicide note or the disposition to actually get around it is because I will eventually find new reasons, and one great reason enough, for me to choose otherwise. 

By staying, I own up to that suicide note I drafted more than a decade ago, and add more reasons to stay as I get older. What a long and beautiful note that one would have been.

Still, it won’t hurt to turn on a new leaf. So here I am, still typing away. After revising that suicide note 12 years after it was drafted, I’m looking forward to drafting a new chapter in the life I am now choosing to live.

Sometimes you just have to realize there’s still much to live for to go on living. God be with me in this journey.