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ESSAY / Ideation into Art / Bekah Steimel


Ideation into action is tenable, even tonight. The most daring prison break, it takes guts to end up gutless. An Atheist suicide should come with an asterisk. I ran off the cliff without wings or a net. I only had the freedom of air to put my faith in. My willingness to pitch such dice into the abyss should be proof enough of the tears you have never seen. 

I’ve so quietly strapped banana peels to my boots. 

I’ve taken off my helmet, my seat belt. Tampered with my brakes.

I’ve been fine tuning my own explosive device, while diffusing the bombs of others.

Depression is a colony of termites laboring so silently and ardently until your dwelling is unlivable. Unlivable. They crawl over me while I like your posts about your vacation and the hilarious thing your toddler said. Unlivable. They creep inside of me as I listen for the tenth time about your tenth lover, and what size U-Haul you should rent. I am genuinely excited for you. Unlivable. They chew through me while you erupt in laughter at my story about accidentally biting my dentist or ordering a Stank Freak instead of a Steak Frank. Unlivable. I am on the verge of collapsing. If I fall and no one is around to hear me, will I make a sound?

I hope I will. Because depression is a serial killer that can never be caught. But, we can study victimology. And, we can do better than warn them; we can arm and protect them. I am a pie chart that is mostly ‘them.’ But the slice of myself that is still a ‘we’ is determined to be consumed and digested. To be useful. I have only words to contribute. Words to impress upon you that words matter. That to the infested, nearly everything matters. Do you understand that I believe my only safe space is death? 

This sadness is more of a sinking than a drowning. Drowning people flap around and make waves. Some even scream for help. This sadness is a silent submersion. It is not resignation but determination to no longer burden or burn. They are both unbearable. I am unbearable to myself. I stare into a mirror and see every mistake I have ever made. I see a villain with a black thumb. I have injured most of what I’ve touched, tended to. Nothing has flourished under my care. 

The eulogy I will never listen to will contradict this.

How sad that our most golden tribute is the one we will never hear.

Ideation into action was tenable, last night. But, the threading of my thoughts has strung me along into the verge of another sunrise. I cannot miss the smudging of vibrant color that represents optimism and chance. Chance that today might be better or just bearable. Chance that I might stumble upon a reason today not to stumble out of my flesh tonight. To not sprint off that cliff with a smile for me and a tear for you. To stay and endure what most of you couldn’t until death takes pity on me and offers me an exit less heart-breaking for the hearts that are not mine. So that your existence does not become unlivable, simply because mine was. 

Bekah Steimel is a poet whose work has been published globally. Recent work has appeared in Impossible Archetype, Paper and Ink Zine, and Memoryhouse Magazine. She lives in St. Louis and can be found online at bekahsteimel.comand followed on Twitter and Instagram @BekahSteimel.