To be clear, this is about someone who announced on Facebook he was going to kill himself…and then did. If that will bother you, stop reading now.
This after a week of misery and sorrow in the wake of the Pulse Massacre. Well, it was weighing on my already weary soul. I was torn between empathy, disbelief and impotence. I’m fairly sure I was one of the first – if not the first – to see it.
I sometimes spend too much time lurking on Facebook.
As I pondered the reality of whether someone would actually go to these lengths to announce their suicidal intentions so publicly or whether it was a hoax, my cursor vacillated between hovering over the like button and the report button. Sadly, I could see the allure of posting such a darkly humorous prank. But some other sense in me kept sounding the alarm. There was such a matter of fact…anger in this post, but an underlying tone of acceptance. As much as I looked for a “fuck you all” connotation, it kept dancing back to someone basically reporting their own death with the soothingly calm dispassion of a golf announcer.
I assumed he was kidding about his desire to be able to haunt those he hated. Who, being suicidal, would wish to remove themselves from a corporeal life just to wish to become a ghost and spend eternity living an afterlife of revenge…the ever present manifestation of such a negative emotion.
Clearly, I was over-thinking this. No doubt part of my Orlando emotional hangover.
Equally clear was that – if this was genuine – he had over-thought this as well. Using a commercial page he had access to to delay the release of the post after learning that his personal page did not allow for that – although, with all that extra time one would have hoped he could proof read this for obvious grammatical errors. But, it does seem he had other things on his mind.
Then again, how could I just dismiss this?
Ultimately, I decided to report it to Facebook. Then I spent the next day haunting the Big Gay Musical page for fallout. Hoping it was a hoax, after all. Knowing in my heart that it was not.
The response from Facebook was certainly lacking…but it seems each time I have bothered to report something to them – we’re talking three instances here, no…four – I have been told the post didn’t violate their Community Standards.
Let’s not talk about being part of a permissive community.
Let’s ignore the tacit acceptance of being part of the problem, here, shall we?
Fortunately, someone from Facebook was somehow a part of this thread, too. A thread which ran the gamut from the responses one would expect ranging from “sad” to “selfish” to the darker and sadder inquiries from real life friends inquiring as to whether anyone knew his last whereabouts since they had checked his home and found it empty.
My comment on the thread was strictly limited to the lackluster show of concern by Facebook for its virtual denizens, well, that and a paraphrasing of Hillary Clinton’s tweet to Donald Drumpf telling him to delete his account. That caught the attention of the Facebook employee, who took the time to IM me asking for screen shots of my Facebook response.
I’m glad he took the time to reach out and that he takes his part in Facebook’s social responsibility more seriously than whoever hit send on that form letter I got from them.
In the end, though, I was too late…even if Facebook had cared to intervene.
This time…this time whatever he chose to do to himself was more successful than 30 Ambien.
One of his friends discovered his last known location and was met at the Casino/Hotel scene by Las Vegas police. After being denied access to the room, he simply posted to the thread, “He has been taken to the coroner’s”.
I remember when being gay was attributed to an overabundance of joy. Can we go back there? To have come through such a challenging history as a group in such a relatively short time: closets of shame, fear, coming out, AIDS, hate crimes, marriage equality…just to get to this result.
I’m not Proud of that.
Having thought about this for the last week or almost two, I know (I believe I know…) that this situation isn’t a gay issue. I think Fred’s sense of being among the disenfranchised is a wider American issue. A disenfranchised class of people who don’t share skin color, religion or sexual orientation.
They share a nationality.
What are we gonna do with that? We’ve already exploited the pill culture that Big Pharma has created to decrease our dissatisfaction with the disappointing surreality of our American Dream.
A dream we still wake up screaming from, if we’re paying attention.
And I do pay attention. Not in the sense that I watch the news or pay attention to whatever sporting event or awards season is distracting the nation. I pay attention to the people around me.
And I see the void.
I watched a woman at breakfast this morning. She was sitting across from her very attractive husband and toddler child. Frowning as she took a picture of them. In observing her facial expression, I couldn’t write it off as Resting Bitch Face or concentration to get the best shot.
She looked miserable.
Do I dare stare into it, this void? I learned from reading that it stares back at me. Could it consume me? Am I better off distracting myself?
No, I am not.
I’ve been distracting myself for the last few weeks and it has not soothed my own broken feelings. So last weekend, I took off on the bike for a different and better distraction: sunshine, fresh air and exercise.
Endorphins over pills.
Because if I allow myself to get dragged down – as had been the recent reality – by all this negativity we perpetrate upon one another, then I was going to become part of the problem.
And I want to be part of the solution.
So that hopefully I can witness a world where we kill each other and ourselves with a little less frequency.
Those of you who know me, though, would agree that I would be happy if we were all just a little nicer to each other.
Love and Pizza, y’all.