When I heard it, I didn’t believe it. There were just rumblings, at first. No one really knew exactly what happened. I dismissed it. I didn’t have confirmation. And besides, these things happen. People kill themselves. People are murdered. People die.
I didn’t know Mark Aguhar terribly well. We would sometimes dance together at the bar and exchange compliments about our outfits. We had just talked to each other two days prior at Chicago Zine Fest; I remember thinking it was a strange interaction, I remember wondering if something was wrong.
After much reflection on a long ride home on the Belmont bus, it all kind of sank in. And there I was, furiously writing things down in my notebook while tears streamed down my face. It was the middle of the night. Fellow passengers stared. I was upset about so many things at once. I had become the crazy crying lady on the bus. They had no idea.
I’m not just mourning for myself. I’m mourning for the community.
Who’s next? Because someone will most definitely be next. It’s only a matter of time until another one of us is gone. What will we do then?
I know for me, suicide wasn’t about wanting to be dead; it was the living I couldn’t take. I’ve been there, on the edge so close to death I could almost reach out and touch the peace of the grave. I don’t think there’s one person or entity to blame. We all carry the weight of a queer sibling’s suicide on our backs. We’ll never be released of our burden.
Suicide prevention is a joke. We start caring when it’s already too late. The damage has already been done. We knew there was a storm. We saw the downed power lines and blown out windows. But it isn’t until lightning strikes the house and the whole thing is going up in flames that we take action.
But what is there to do? It’s simple self-preservation, really. Sometimes it hurts too much to think about it all. Other people’s pain can undo in a second what someone has spent years blocking out. It all just weighs too heavy on your own soul.
And our souls are heavy. Our hearts are tired. We can only shoulder it all for so long.
This didn’t happen out there. It happened here. To someone we know. Someone who was so strong, so confident, so vibrant. Someone who created art, who lived art. Someone who spat in the face of white privilege, proudly showcased their non-normative body and transcended gender. That was the person who couldn’t live in this world anymore, and it scares the shit out of us, because now we know it could have been any of us. If Mark couldn’t make it, how the hell are the rest of us supposed to?
Take care of each other out there. We’re all we’ve got.Follow @QueerKnowledge