Suicide. The action of killing oneself intentionally (though not necessarily consciously). It ranks eighth among causes of death in the United States, and is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. Deaths due to suicide exceed one million annually worldwide, and this number would be much greater if corrected for underreporting, far exceeding the number of homicides.
Yesterday, a supermodel star named Ruslana Korshunova, from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, killed herself. She was twenty years old.
Surely, everyone would describe this as a tragedy. A tragic loss of life, the deliberate termination of a viable, personal journey, the sudden removal of a soul that might have had much more to experience here as a human being.
But here's where I have to veer off... and go off! The dramatic and romanticized blather about Ruslana's suicide reminds me of the trite ramblings after the tragic shooting deaths of kids by kids at places like Columbine and Scottsboro. I not only wrote about those murders, but I was featured on a national radio show about the killings because my perspective was considered "radical."
What was my point of view? That these killings were predictable, that the killer kids were identifiable sociopaths who were overlooked by a system that focuses on physical health, but ignores mental health. Yearly physical exams are mandated in most school districts, but psychological evaluations are not, at least not until it's often too late. Then, "we," the friends and families and scavenger press, launch into our guilt-ridden, self-exonerating crap about how "normal" the killers seemed, and what good families they came from. No. No, folks. Quiet and sullen isn't normal. Never crying isn't normal. Rigid parents aren't normal. Listen up:
NORMAL KIDS NEVER COMMIT PREMEDITATED ACTS OF MURDER!!
And happy supermodels never commit suicide.
Here are some quotes from the AP piece reporting on Ruslana's untimely death:
"The almond-eyed, flowing-haired Korshunova appeared in advertisements and on runways for such designers as Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci and DKNY. British Vogue hailed her as 'a face to be excited about' in 2005. The lithe looker has been a mainstay at Fashion Week in the Big Apple and London, working with all-star designers Jill Stuart, Betsey Johnson, Rosa Cha, Lela Rose and Libertine."
"She looked like something out of a fairytale!"
"She's one of the sweetest, nicest people you'll ever meet," said a friend, who did not want to be identified by name.
"I'm still in shock. The world lost a great person."
"A pal said that Korshunova had just returned from a modeling gig in Paris and seemed to be 'on top of the world. There were no signs,' he said. 'That's what's driving me crazy. I don't see one reason why she would do that."
"Korshunova, who had been sending money back to her parents in Kazakhstan, was in love with the city."
"She came in this morning, she smiled, no sense of depression," said a doorman at her 12-story building. "She was a very sweet girl, always smiling, never depressed-looking."
"Another close friend said: 'We were talking on the phone last night. She loved life so much. She was an angel. She wasn't wild. She was never on drugs or anything."
HEY! SHE KILLED HERSELF! DELIBERATELY! It doesn't matter that she was pretty and sober and inoffensive to your narcissistic sensibilities. Just like it didn't matter that Karen Carpenter or Judy Garland had heavenly voices. The sycophants around talented beauties (or quiet kids, for that matter) don't want to see the sadness, the gutting depression, the life-destroying, suppressed rage. But it's visible, believe me, no less so than if a person had a broken limb or a bleeding gash. But we see what we want to see, and don't see what we don't want to see.
Fine. Then shut-up! If you're unwilling or unable to see the loss of will to live in a young person who kills herself, or if you just can't handle acknowledging the explosive stockpile of murderous rage in our children, just shut-up, and let those of us who are willing to see - and help - do our jobs without you confusing the matter with platitudes and self-congratulatory assessments based on your idealizations.
Sorry. I guess I'm pissed off.