“Survivor’s Guilt” by Taylor Houston

There are more deaths from suicide than from war and homicide put together,
but I still have trouble getting the syllables out of my mouth,
words like marbles garbled on my tongue.
when I tell others about the lineage of suicides I come from.
I am alienated, beyond understanding.
The truth is,
if I never talk about it or tell anyone,
I will never meet others like me
who understand the pain-
who help me live my new normal.

Why is it that those killed in warfare or by murder are more heroic
than the wars my mother and grandmother fought in their minds?
They were both in pain for years,
prisoners of war stuck in their bodies,
waterboarded by guilt,
strangled by the darkness inside them.
Psychological torture by cruel others is nothing compared
to the constant interrogation those with mental illness put themselves through,
oscillating between sensory deprivation and sensory overload.
Blinded by the bright days
and broken by the black ones,
eventually their demons strangled their souls.
Now reduced to a statistic about death.

I come from a lineage of suicides
and I have inherited the gift of an atypical brain.
It shows me brighter lights
and darker darks.
I cannot wrangle the beast I have been given,
but I can talk to it lovingly.
Gently, gently,
I am learning to tame my mind.

I will not become another statistic.

Bio: Taylor Houston is a sophomore at Willamette University in Oregon. She is currently deciding between Studio Art and Psychology as her major. Taylor considers herself to be an anti-racist, queer intersectional feminist. She doesn’t believe in the gender binary and prefers she/her or them/they pronouns. She loves expressing herself creatively, be it through digital or film photography, writing, performing writing, playing guitar, getting tattooed, or dying her hair fun colors. She has two talented little sisters who she hopes to inspire to do great things.



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