I watched this speech from 2013 by Wentworth Miller for the first time yesterday and it has touched me in a very unexpected way and I felt compelled to share it. Suicide has been high on my radar recently and after a couple of coincidences this week, like happening on this video and reading Tim Ferris blog about his experiences, I feel it’s time to talk about it here too. But first, here’s the speech:
Dear Mr Miller,
I want to thank you for speaking out in 2013 at the HRC about topics that were no doubt incredibly difficult and painful to address. Finally it felt like someone was speaking my truth about how I have felt for a large part of my 44 years…I & me are a large part of my vocabulary while we, us or community are still not. I hadn’t made the connection to my childhood situation however – being thrown into self-dependence and having to have maturity levels far beyond my years at a very early age on my own has left me constantly feeling alone and lost within a sea of family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. We are not the same but like you, I struggle with a sense of community – also of mixed race, religion, born in a country where I was a foreigner, moved to my home country where I continued to not fit in and now two countries later … I still do not feel like I belong…anywhere. “I have no home” is something I frequently say when asked where my home is. What I crave the most is community – a sense of belonging but I have yet to find it. Your speech has made me realize that this lack of community could be a story that I continue to tell myself rather than actual reality – that there probably exists, somewhere out there, a group of people that would readily accept me – if only I’d ask. I just need to find them. Or rather, that I need to start speaking my truth where I am and see who sticks around. It’s hard because I’m scared. I thought I had my shit together and yet there are still things about myself that I hide. You have inspired me to speak more truthfully and this is something I will try to do more of starting now. I recently starting talking about my childhood wounds in public, of my constant companion depression and I’ve alluded to suicide but not openly discussed it. There were many suicide attempts, especially in my teenage years and early twenties, though few people knew – like you, it was less of a cry for help (even though that was a part of it) and more of a desire to get the hell out of this painful place. A result of hopelessness and a loneliness that believed no one cared. I thought I was better but when I thought about suicide last summer, less than a year ago, I realised that I am still in its grips even though I have developed many happiness tools and habits that help me emotionally day to day. When Robin Williams killed himself, I understood. So many people questioned it but I just got it. And this is what worries me – I have two huge reasons for not killing myself … I do not want to make that part of their childhood story. I want to break the cycle (after watching my mum try to take her own life throughout my own childhood) and so far, I am doing OK, but I now realise that I really do need a community to help me stay strong and for this realisation, I thank you. I need to bring we and us into my world. And I need to be more open about my sexual orientation rather than talking around it, especially for my kids. I never felt accepted by the lesbian & gay community where I was because there was always the belief that “bisexuals were just sitting on the fence pretending they weren’t gay” – times have changed a lot in the last 20 years so perhaps this has too. Time to come clean and see what happens. Time to find a community that knows my secrets and invites me in with open arms. And if I can’t find one, I’m going to start one – where each of us is loved and worth loving, scars and all. If you know nothing else, know that your speech has touched at least one person (but no doubt many many more). My gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you thank you thank you Mr Miller.