Suicide no. 43: An End to All Facades
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
You may learn to forgive yourself for the life that you live, but not the life that you never lived.
When dramas of day-to-day humdrum become melodramas become nonchalance, the play isn’t over—that is, the play will never have enough triumph to reach an end. All the audience members will forget as soon as they eagerly disperse into their own pointlessness.
When I found myself leaving Hollywood with but a dent in the world of acting, only to wind up in some shipyard for imported Chinese toys near the long and winding Oregon coastline, I knew it was over, and that a part of me had died long before I got here. Everything I’d left behind, as full of facades as people I’d come to know in Los Angeles were, I missed deeply. Why try and forget that life that I’d try to build? Because it was fake, and, despite being surrounded and applauded by the barrage of new people day in and out, I wanted to leave it behind. I wanted rid of it because I was fake with it, and wanted a real life.
So, while I scan each pallet with a hand held laser as it’s fork-lifted off of ships, and delegated to different trucks for shipment, I contemplate what I’ve become—wondering, after all efforts had been wasted, if I’d become anything at all. Or if, perhaps, becoming nothing at all was what would give me a sort of peace from feeling like I had to hide myself from other people—people with sharp teeth who wanted to find the real me, and chew him into either useless or used-up pieces.
To think that I wanted to be an actor, had succeeded, and then receded to become yet an altogether different shade of actor—one who pretends to like the boss, his “friends” who talk about him behind his back, and his god-awful mother-to-be-in-law—the fact is that, on some level, I’ve contradicted my own efforts to escape living in a box of contrived and pointless social gestures. I’d become the worst version of myself, developed a small modicum of fame as the result, and then retreated—thinking I’d won, only to realize that I would wind up in the same situation all over again, and with less recognition for it all.
So, how did I get here? Where do I go, now?
I understood the issue, though: I had to be fake to survive in either circumstance for altogether different reasons in each. Allowing whatever weaknesses I had to show themselves in a world of people looking to swallow you whole was suicide, but doing the same thing back home was a smaller, more insignificant kind of suicide. But why? I believe, after having considered it all, that it comes down to the world failing to understand and accept who I am deep down—the poet, the artist, the hopeless romantic…even the new girlfriend only likes that part of me in such small doses that my existence has lost most of the flare to whatever meaning I could have given it.
How do I free myself from my own self-made prison, then? How do I unwind after a long day of pretending to be something I’m not?
After I’d considered it long enough, I’d realized that I never do—unwind, that is. But I can only think of one way to do so, now, and that requires merely three stage props:
A chair, a scrawled-out note, and a noose.