I ransacked the closet where I discovered the diaries--not there. Well, the photos were retrieved from some barn rafters in June and given to me! The photos span from about 1984 to 1990 (ages 14-20). They also include photographs from Jennifer's trip to Germany as an exchange student. I feel like I struck gold!
The bad news is that I can't post any of the new photos today. My main computer has crashed. My scanner is not attached to the laptop so I will have to wait to scan photos. I'm going to post an entry today, sans photos, just to get started again.
Jennifer is writing multiple times a day at this point. There is a lot of material to sift through. I'm doing my best to maintain a storyline of events. Jennifer is heading toward a pivotal moment in her life...I will try to capture the tension as it builds in her life.
September 27, 1985--"I get disappointed pretty easily. Whenever I get disappointed, I start thinking, 'Is life worth it?'. Anyway, just now I asked my parents if I could ride my bike around Fox Forest for about 10 minutes. It's only 10:00pm but they said no because it's too late. I was really counting on going, I had my train of thought set on it. I was sure that I could go but they said 'no' and it's like I have to readjust and it's disappointing.
I let myself hope for things, really hope, like hoping I would get a horse or get a puppy for my birthday, and I fully believe it will happen. I realize it might not but then I get very disappointed when it really doesn't happen. I guess I like to let myself hope. I like to set my heart upon something. Emotions can be very powerful, even disappointment.
I almost love to cry deep and hard and I love to feel incredible anger sometimes (not frustrated anger though). I like to feel the power of hate, the power of depression, the power of suicide and the existence afterward. Whenever I feel strong emotions, I realize the power in me. I always feel more important and that nothing can stop me.
I used to think of suicide all the time--a way to easily solve problems. When Muffin died, I almost tried to kill myself. I tried mixing liquid Drano and ammonia and drinking it. I couldn't get the lid off the Drano, never did either. After five minutes of trying, I decided not to kill myself.
When things were going wrong, I would think about suicide. Almost every morning, I would wake up and I'd want to stay in bed and not put my feet on the cold floor. Sometimes I didn't get up and I stayed home from school and, a lot of times, I wanted to die just so I could stay in bed.
Nowadays I wouldn't kill myself for a few reasons.
1) It's a selfish thing to do. All the money and trouble Mom, Dad and my family went through for me would be wasted. Plus, it might ruin my mom.
2) Cocoa would be all alone in the world. She is one of my first concerns. If I were to die, she would not have a good friend anymore, she'd be left hanging. I couldn't do that to my baby.
3) All I've done so far in my life would be wasted. All those mornings I did get out of bed would be wasted. I'd probably have to start all over again in a new life. Plus, I wouldn't be a survivor if I killed myself. You don't see animals killing themselves. To be successful in this world, you have to survive by your people's code. Suicide is not in that code. Feelings can be suppressed and you must survive. I think that if you don't survive, you have to live life again and I wouldn't wish that on myself.
4) Once, a long time ago, Mom or someone else told me that people who killed themselves were sent to hell and were despised by God. Well, when I heard that I did believe in God so it made an impact on me. But even now that I don't believe in any God, I still have a fear that only bad will come of suicide.
So from now on, I might think of suicide, but I will never do it because that would be losing and I like to win. Even if my whole life went down the drain, I have decided that I will not kill myself. I have made this decision after years of torment and no matter what, I will stick by it, by the Oath of Ophelia, by my word and honor, I will survive. I will live."
Heads up parents--I believe that making a pact NOT to kill yourself IS just as bad as making a pact TO kill yourself. It's a warning sign!!
The following information was taken from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
What Are The Warning Signs For Suicide?Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
Talk about frustrating--Jennifer was upset enough to want to kill herself but she spent so much energy trying to get the top off the bottle that the mood passed. Drano could advertise this fact--"Our childproof packaging is so complicated that suicidal teens often decide they would rather live than drink our product!"
Click here to read the entry from 1983 where Jennifer writes about Muffin's death.