I joined The Listserve exactly one week ago. And I'm not really ready for my turn. This feels like a speech for an Academy Award with the music already playing me off stage…
But here is part of my life…
I almost jumped from a bridge in April of 2010. It probably wouldn't have killed me – but I wanted to die. Instead of dying, I moved to Hawai'i and worked at a summer camp. And I fell in love with wonderful kids and wonderful co-workers. They truly saved my life.
My favorite person there was a girl named Teej Teasdale. A writer from Kenya who worked with me and then later moved to the middle of the Pacific Ocean – Micronesia – to work for the Peace Corps. A girl with a heart big enough to hold the entire world [and all its pain]. She saved my life more than once. But she took her own life last July. It's still intensely painful. And I can't really speak about her in the past tense like she's gone. She is still beautiful and wonderful and talented and compassionate. Death can't take that away from her. And she continues to change me for the better. You can find her poetry by searching 'masikanicrocodile' on Google. [Side note: my great-aunt once heard us talking about Google and asked, "Who's Google?" – Aunt Mary is the best…]
Near the end, Teej wrote me a poem titled, "Prologue to a 20-Volume Suicide Note." But I was 4,808 miles away and couldn't drive across the Atlantic to hug her. ["Transatlanticism" is playing in my mind right now…] But after she died, I wrote my own 20-volume suicide note – the long, sad, boring soundtrack to an unfinished screenplay. It's all I could stand to do with passion. You can find it by searching 'markusaurelius' on Bandcamp. All proceeds go to GiveWell, a good charity. I don't mean to be self-promotional but I do promote giving to others – I heard that people who are given five dollars to spend on others have happier days than those given five dollars to spend on themselves. So the money isn't for me, and I wouldn't want it anyway. "A sprig or mint by the wayward brook; a nibble of birch in the wood; a summer day and love and a book; and I wouldn't be king if I could…"
I've spent too much of my last few years feeling sadness but here are some of the things making me happy…
I am happy that I found my new home in Florence, Italy – a city I discovered by pure chance… a city I love deeply. I am happy about the friends and family in my life. I am happy that my parents are living happy lives. I am happy that my uncle, the son of Charles Hamilton Houston, spent hours telling me stories of his life yesterday – listening is one of my favorite things. I am happy that I met a girl, Anna, who is so beautiful and so wonderful and so kind and so GOOD that I can't help but feel more whole when I am near her. Or even when I hear her voice. Or even when I see a picture of her. Or even when I see her in my dreams. I'm starting to think that… she is my dream.
Okay – I'm almost out of words. I can hear the music playing me off…
Thank you to Winnie the Pooh, Tim, and everyone I’ve ever loved. And especially those who have ever loved me.
Love, love, and more love.
Mark Taylor Adams