By Ashley Webster

I. Would never wear my seat belt as a child because I thought dying in a car accident would be a tragic way to die and hoped that it would give me a cooler legend than just being the loud, fat chick.

II. Half-heartedly cut myself and burned myself all through middle school. Partially because I thought it was cool and partially because I wanted to die. I cut my thighs more than my wrists. I knew my mom was checking up on my wrists.

III. Every time I am on a plane and the plane is taking off I picture something going wrong and the plane not taking off and it speeding off the runway and crashing into a building, killing everyone. It makes me feel sick but also excited. I picture the same thing when landing.

IV. On the highway sometimes would consider opening the passenger door and letting myself fall out on the pavement and get run over by the car. Sometimes was so compelled to do it that I had to lock the door to ensure that I wouldn't. Still lock doors on long car rides.

V. Once was sitting at the desktop computer in my mothers living room while her boyfriend was on the couch behind me and I was overcome by the knowledge that if I had a gun near me, I would have turned around and shot him without hesitating.

VI. Would often drive my station wagon on deserted one-lane highways on late summer nights. Would contemplate swerving into oncoming cars simply because I had the power to. Thought about how weird it is that driving gives people so much power over themselves and others. Scary to have the ability to turn the wheel slightly and kill someone instantly.

VII. Saw a news story about a stroller that rolled off the platform in front of a train. Get anxious and maybe excited every time I see a stroller near a train or traffic intersection.

VIII. Went hiking in Arizona. Reached the top of the mountain and contemplated pushing my partner off the edge. Tried to calculate if it could be traced to me. Decided that too many people knew we were hiking together. Too big of a risk.

IX. A girl I knew from high school was found murdered in her white Scion the summer after I graduated high school. No one knows what happened but the best guess is that someone hid in her car and stabbed her to death while she was driving. It was probably a random attack. I am always wary of someone hiding in my backseat. I drive with the music loud so my thoughts don't drive me crazy. If I was murdered, I'd like it to be a random attack. I think that's more interesting than being killed for a reason.

X. Every time I have waited for the subway, I have pictured myself jumping in front of an oncoming train. Would a “hero” jump down to save me? Would anyone deem me worth saving?

XI. Floor to ceiling windows are daunting. Hotels are the worst offenders. When I stay in a hotel with floor to ceiling windows I spend hours staring out them, wanting to jump or imagining falling. I wonder how it would feel to be walking down the street and see someone jump out of a floor to ceiling window.

XII. Hydroplaned on the interstate and rolled my car. Speed ~84 miles per hour. Felt like I was rolling for hours and I was prepared to die. Pictured the people who would come to my funeral. No one from high school would be there. Thought about the people who witnessed the accident. How would it affect them if I died? It would suck to watch someone die in a car accident right in front of you. I did not die. Sometimes wish I did.

XIII. If I ever had the will to commit suicide, I would want to make it look accidental so the people in my life wouldn't feel responsible.

XIV. When my Grandma died, I felt nothing. I went to her funeral and I didn't cry. It has been five years and I still haven't cried.

XV. In high school I was really religious. Christianity is supposed to be a comfort and a guide in life but all it did was make me terrified of death. I am less afraid of death now that I am an atheist.

XVI. I used to think that suicide was a really selfish thing to do but I am beginning to realize that it may not be. Maybe sometimes it is the best option. Or maybe it is selfish, but it's okay to be selfish sometimes.

XVII. I think it's more tragic to “lose someone” in the sense that they are just no longer in your life as opposed to losing someone to death because death is a known finality and can bring a peace of mind.

XVIII. Talking someone out of suicide is one of the hardest things you can do in life. I don't like having that responsibility. When I was 13, my good friend called me and said she was going to do it. I told her not to because her dog needed her. She is still alive. It's hard to explain to someone why their life is worth anything. Maybe no life is.

XIX. I saw a tortoise at Pet Smart and I wanted to buy it but it was one hundred dollars. I realized that's probably because that tortoise may outlive me. I wouldn't want a pet that would outlive me because I think it would be sad for the pet to lose their owner. Like having a parent die. Maybe I am greatly overestimating my potential significance in the life of a tortoise.

XX. I think maybe death isn't all that awful. What if it's really nice?


ashley webster lives in arizona