Naked Suicide

Recently, the number of visitors to my blog increased incredibly.  Why? The piece on the Newtown tragedy perhaps? It wouldn’t be my Department of Motor Vehicle post…who from Columbia, Romania or Turkey would be interested in that?

No. The hits from countries around the globe were actually looking for a tattooed woman in (and out of) sexy underwear. Not me, silly. My flesh has no ink and I assure you, my lingerie is not even remotely titillating.

The search term that brought this wild number of visitors my way was ‘tierney suicide’.  At first I thought a famous Tierney (can you think of any besides the long-dead, Gene?) must have committed suicide.  Nope. Tierney is the name or moniker of a young woman who is part of the SuicideGirls. (here is Wikipedia‘s description if you’d rather not click on the link.) “SuicideGirls is the nationwide art sleaze phenomenon.”  according to the Los Angeles Times. I doubt many of these accidental visitors stuck around for long on my modest blog.

It may be generational, but the idea of posting naked photos of even the younger, cuter me across the world-wide-web, makes me squirm. In college I sometimes paid my rent modeling for life drawing classes in the art department so it’s not that I am really that much of a prude – just a bit of one. Besides, times are different – scarier, more exploitative. But I try not to judge. Hey, to some extent, I too ‘get naked’ on my blog.  The kind of writing that interests me, requires I reveal more than most people are inclined to do.

No, it’s not the nudity that disturbs me – it’s what they call themselves: “SuicideGirls”.  I get they want to sound edgy, alternative, cutting edge, but it is a weird association.  There are over 30,000 suicides a year in the United States and for those of us left behind, the word suicide does not evoke sexy. And if  suicide searches are bringing the voyeurs to my blog, the survivors in looking for some understanding and solace, must also be stumbling onto the naked-girl site. Hmm.

Avoiding the words or images that trigger traumatic memory is impossible. For the first year or so, the moment I found my husband seemed branded behind my eyelids. Time has help fade this picture but flashbacks are unpredictable. A new title faced-out in the history section of the bookstore I work in, features an image of a noose. I can’t tell you the title because that’s all I saw. A pit opened in my gut and now I know to avoid walking past that shelf. Even those seemingly benign ‘hangman’ games remind me. I’ve learned to swallow and move on.

I choose to still look into and explore my dark, sad place – but prefer to do so on my own terms, on my time. That kind of control is not always possible. I cannot hide book jackets or edit scenes of movies or television shows. Nor can I protest the name of this girly site.

After the horrible shooting in Newtown, a town only 30 minutes away from here, many customers in the bookstore complained about the piles of gun collector books long gathering dust in our remainders section. Rightly so, the company I work for doesn’t censor – but nor is it insensitive. We took the books off display.  It was a simple thing to do in this raw time.

Survivors learn to live with randomly provoked memories. We must: reminders are everywhere. What some see as amusement, sport or even ‘art’ — can painfully elicit our memories of tragedy, of violence and can be hard to swallow. I guess that’s why I’m not thrilled by all the passing traffic — it’s just that they took a wrong turn.

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2 Responses to Naked Suicide

  1. Avatar Lea Sylvestro says:

    After I read your posts, I sit and try to find words for a comment… but often, I am feeling as much as thinking and it’s hard to find words. You mention “finding” your husband, with only that phrase I know what you mean and I blanch inside and flash briefly to my Dave, picturing the image you live with, and I twist inside for your pain, your past, your courage. As to the misguided whirl at your site….oh, so frustrating that Suicide Girls succeed in drumming up a throng and thoughtful, heart-filled writing ….well, not the same audience.

  2. I never heard of SG before. I suppose you could say they are trying to wrest something from the mainstream depiction of women and turning the word suicide on its head but frankly it’s just more of the same…a preponderance to focus on the body….is that all women are? Yawn.

    And for those like you touched by the actual event with all its pain and associated heartache it must seem incredibly shallow. But human beings are a bit like this…until something bad happens to you, we tend to go about a bit blindly, not realising how other people suffer. I’ve certainly been guilty of this in the past, infact it makes me cringe a bit to think of how selfish I was!

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