What I Learned By Being Faced With Black Queer Suicide


Albert Einstein, when hypothesizing about how our universe worked, would do things referred to as “thought experiments.” Essentially, he was just daydreaming, but since these idle daydreams birthed absolute brilliant information about our universe, we now refer to them as “thought experiments.”

In a profound act of arrogance, I’ve adopted the term for when I am brainstorming on an idea or using my imagination to think of how someone looks naked. In my latest thought experiment, I wondered if there was a parallel universe, if there was a place where everything is beautiful and does nothing, but improve. It’s a place where love spreads infinitely, and you can’t decide between looking up because of the beautiful clouds or at the ground because of the beautiful flowers. Then, you remember the sky will eventually get even better, and turn into stars and a blood moon. In this near identical dimension, parallel to our own things get better, more beautiful, and even more astonishing with the passing of time. There is no deficit, only improvement.

I ponder this fantasy-riddled thought dipped in quantum physics. As my phone begins to ring, it’s my friend. His voice was still sweet even though what he had to deliver to me was extremely sour. My friend wanted to kill himself. He said, the weight of the world was too heavy and he’d rather just break, or rather push the brakes on the vehicle helping him travel through life. He’d wanted to die. All I could think was how I never dreamed he’d leave in springtime, but I understood his want for a permanent sabbatical from this material world when being black and queer can begin to feel like a perpetual cruel winter.

He spoke earnestly and I listened as I drank the clouds from my coffee because I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t lie and say that it gets better. Hell, in this radical world that seems to be made of chaos and oppression for the queer and black, it might just get worse.  For us, it may not get better. I didn’t know how to tell him to not ease his mind by blowing it out and leaving pieces of skull, brain, and yesterday’s problems on the wall. I didn’t know how to tell him not to let go of it all.

All I could think of, selfishly, was to tell him that I needed him. All I could think to tell him was that I loved him. I could only think to tell him that he reminded me of the love songs that were on the radio. I could only think to tell him that his existence on this earth let me sleep better at night, and kept me warm. I could only tell him that he didn’t need a candlelight vigil to see the light of who he is and how much he matters, and all the people he has touched.

I admit I love him selfishly. I loved him because I was him and he was me, and without him I thought I might die too. I realized in that selfish moment, that community drenched in compassion is where black queer folks have to go. I realized that that for us, it just might get worse. Mothers might continue to beat the gay out of their babies, and leave them as a pulp of lifelessness that isn’t gay, isn’t joyful, isn’t happy, just dead. It might just get worse; you might find yourself tired from a long day’s work and someone who you didn’t know was watching you decided to feel your flesh get cold. It might just get worse; if a harmless ‘John’ decides that you’re cheap and he can afford your life.

I can’t lie and say that in this queer black life I have found crystal staircases, but I have found blood diamonds pumping through the veins and golden hearts that beat despite the unfairness of the world attempting to suffocate all life from our bodies. I found that in this community I cherish deeply. What I mean to say is support and community isn’t a luxury for black queer folks, it is a necessity. We must love, support and listen to one another religiously, habitually, on purpose. It’s not just a utopian idea, it’s a survival strategy. We don’t need to lose brilliant queer black minds to suicide, especially when it sometimes only takes an open ear or shoulder to prevent the steel from meeting the temple.

My friend is alive and really it only took me saying that I was just like him, I feel the same pain, I need him, and I desire to make his life easier as well in any way I can. I really believe that a compassionate community is vital for queer people of color and our survival. That’s because unlike the world and its circumstances, we do have the capacity to get better and better, infinitely. The parallel universe that I spoke of earlier lives inside of us all, and I wish we would tap into it for the sake of us.

I always wanted to be an magician, but I could never perfectly execute any magic tricks. So, I decided on being queer, black, and an artist instead. Born in New York, thriving in Atlanta.

  • Mrlovely

    Gorgeous piece

  • Omelio Alexander

    I think it is important for people to realize that suicide is often about feeling disconnected not necessarily feeling “bad”. The idea that no one else is like you and no one else understands what you see can be profound. That very sensation is what makes talking to other people so difficult after all if they go “it” you wouldn’t feel that way in the first place. It doesn’t help when clues and sometime cryptic messages get missed and reinforced the underlying idea that no one is on the same page as you. I think we all need to be more aware of the fact that so many of us have these moments and that the more they are missed the more likely it is that they’ll end in suicide

    • http://thelucidprojects.com Myles E. Johnson

      definitely. it’s a perpetual state of gray, not necessarily blue. I wasn’t attempting to insinuate that one talk or affirmation could solve depression, at all. I am saying that a compassionate community could be the catalyst to preventing the attempt, even if only until a therapy session.

      • Omelio Alexander

        oh no i understood. I’m glad someone is speaking on it. I was just trying to add to your point not correct it. I often suggest we need to be a more compassionate community, for more than one reason. It’s just such a hard proposition for many to reach out to others when they feel they themselves are suffering the effects of isolation.

  • BlackPegasus

    A very nice passage indeed,

    Sometimes – no most times, all our friends need is someone to listen. Listen and provide a small dose of empathy before preaching about hope and the beauty of life. Being depressed is a terrible place of confinement and seemingly endless sadness. Being GAY and depressed only adds another extreme onto an already pit of darkness and sadness,.