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On Endings

TW/CW: suicidal ideation

Well. Here we are. April. The beginning of commencement season for those in the Syracuse MFA program. Our graduation is a little different than the university commencement----the last weekend in April, we congregate in The Inn Complete in Syracuse on that Saturday and Sunday to read poems and stories from our theses, dress up, and generally have a great time. It's great! There are awards announcements, general hoopla, and it's a wonderful time to celebrate the blood, sweat, and tears that go into this whole writing business.

That doesn't mean it's not bittersweet. Or surreal. Especially for yours truly, who, quite frankly, didn't think they'd get to that podium to begin with. There's something so discomforting about living past the project you thought would outlive you. That's my thesis I'm talking about: GRIEF SUITE: POEMS. It's a wildly different collection than I thought it would be, but isn't that how it always goes with poems? I am a firm believer in the reality that poems know better than their poet. Truly, the poems had full reign on this project; I just held on for dear life (literally.) So, the program comes to an end. The thesis comes to an end. And that leaves me, alive, and thoroughly bewildered. Not unpleasantly surprised. But bewildered. What now?

Well. I know what's next. That news has to stay in the vault a bit longer, but there are next steps. I'll be moving on from a lot of things all at once. This chapter of my life closes. The final word is inked on the page May 11, when the Syracuse masters degree ceremony is, and then...and then. Then I have to figure out how to live through this next chapter. And the chapter beyond it. And the chapter even beyond that. I'm ready for it.

In the depths of despair in January, when the world outside was white and hushed and I thought it was the perfect time to disappear and I didn't, I didn't know why. In Feburary, when my brain betrayed me and I didn't understand why, when I kept telling people to put me out of my misery, to send me to the glue factory, again, I thought it would be better to disappear. And then, at the 11th hour. When I was going to make good and not come back. By happenstance, a Shirley Jackson quote came across my Instagram timeline from We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Jackson, the queen of horror and a Syracuse alumna herself, could not have known she'd save someone's life with eighteen words: "It's spring, you're young, you're lovely, you have a right to be happy. Come back into the world." So I did. So I continue to do.

It's rotten, hard work, divorcing yourself from your own mortality. Telling it that yes, death will happen someday, and we will never know when, but not today. Not now, at least. It's spring. I'm young. I'm lovely. I have a right to be happy. The world is there, still spinning. And I spin with it.



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