My senior year of college, I was briefly in a Bollywood film class (Indian Hollywood/cinema), and we were watching an interview with an Indian actor who was talking about the desperate poverty that still wracked India’s populace. What he said is something I’ll never forget:
“People use their bread money to come see our films. We want to make it worth it for them.”
I didn’t realize at the time the impact this quote would have on me.
As countless people are, I am in more debt that I can even begin to wrap my head around.
And, as countless other people are (whether or not they are willing, or ready, to admit it out loud), I am suicidal and struggle more often than not with crippling anxiety and depression.
Not to say I am actively suicidal, or planning it or anything like that. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say more times than not, while wading through recent events of my life, I’ve wanted to die—even if I don’t plan on ever acting on those feelings.
I say these things so blatantly not for attention, or for pity, but rather to give air to these deadly, horrific thoughts. Believe it or not, they lose their power when exposed to sunlight and oxygen.
While wading through these seemingly perpetual thoughts, even when not active in my mind but lingering in the shadows of my consciousness, I find ways of coping with the daily slough of my life. But, being young and happening to fall in the Millennial age group, the ways I cope and make myself want to keep living are the subject of nasty, abusive judgment from others, especially those lucky to be old enough or wealthy enough to not have anywhere near the same burdens we modern workers/students have to carry.
Working with so many others significantly older than me, these judgments come up more than I’d like. They love to go on rants about how much my generation spends on coffee, on avocado toast, on technology. The same technology their generation helped create, market, and sell. The same things they themselves use. The same things they would be unable to function without.
I could go on a day-long rant about my own personal debt, my strained budget, and how my dietary restrictions make even grocery shopping a living hell for me.
But what I really want to focus on are those things that keep me alive, when nearly every circumstance in my life is begging, urging me toward the opposite.To those whom glance with arrogance and disdain at the tattoos on my arms, I want you to know that this permanent ink has helped me love my body, and to loathe even the thought of harming it—a solution for me I hadn’t contemplated, but that I’m so grateful for.
For those who judge me for the figurines, pictures, paintings, fan art, stickers I buy to keep around every visible surface of my room, my car, and my desk at work—having so many bright, colorful, wonderful things from characters, stories, and worlds that I love remind me in my darkest moments that there is hope, somewhere out there—even if it’s in fictional worlds.
In response to those who don’t understand the basic, distinct difference between food for the body and food for the soul, let me tell you this: my costumes, my tattoos, my cds, my books, my figurines, feed me at night when regular food doesn’t cut it.
Not to say I don’t eat, but when I have to choose, this is the avenue I take first.
Because of my current living/financial situation, sometimes I make the choice to feed my soul first before feeding my body. Understanding this as the motivation for so many people’s actions would greatly help those whom feel like the best things that happen to them happen in fiction, in social media, in anything at least partially separated from the world that is literally killing itself.
Media has always been the first way God has reached out for me, since I was four years old. Any expression of beauty, majesty, horror, drama, adventure, divinity—these are the things I surround myself with to keep me one more day, one more hour from thinking of the overwhelming burden of my life.
I think I understand now, in a new way, what Christ said when replying to Satan, “Man does not live on bread alone.”
There is far more nourishment, sustenance, life beyond the supposed staples of our human existence.
Stop judging those of us whom need more from one plane than the other in order to keep fighting, and to try and find that good in our lives that these things we surround ourselves with give a reflection of.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-water-drop-1707825/