3rd of the 2019 Essay Contest"The reason why I did not kill myself"
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3rd of the 2019 Essay Contest"The reason why I did not kill myself"
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  • 승인 2019.11.04 10:31
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The reason why I did not kill myself

KIM JINWOO

Dept. of French&African Studies

 

A white envelop came out from my desk. I was sitting on the floor organizing my books and wiping off the dust from the drawers. The envelop was neatly sealed and on the surface it was written "Open on the day of discharge". I could recognize my clumsy handwriting. I opened up the envelop carefully and pulled out the piece of paper inside. It was a letter that I wrote to myself a year ago. It was my will and in it I made a promise to myself that I would end my life if I wasn't able to successfully reach my goals and find the meaning of life until my discharge.

I was in the midst of my military service as a military training instructor. I had about a year left before my discharge and I was soon to be promoted as corporal. It might not mean much to someone but to me this promotion was a halfway point of my journey. Now only thing I head to do was going back. Following the paths that I took and in the end I would reach home. However, amongst the sense of achievements I felt the strangeness inside of my stomach. I knew what it was exactly. It was an old acquaintance whom I wish not to call him as a friend. He would often visit me and stay with me for a while. It might take an hour or a day or a week for him to leave. Whenever he visits he would always ask about my list of goals and how I am doing to reach those. Most of the time, our conversations didn't end well and I would always have to embrace the worst and the nastiest feelings. I was in much pain and I was eager to remove this torment and break the shackle of my emotions that held me in the darkest place. I wanted to set me free. So I decided to write a will. This idea came out from the book I read called 'On My 29th Birthday, I Decided to Die One Year Later', written by 'Amari Hayama'. I was following what the protagonist 'Amari' was doing. She decided to die one year later on her 30th birthday making herself to think about how she will spend the short amount of time she had. I cannot really recall the seriousness and the intensity I felt at the time; however I do remember the state I was in. I wanted to change myself during my service and in order to do that I needed to put myself on the edge of the cliff. By leaving the idea of death near me I had an alarm bell that continuously rang.

Every time when I opened the closet I could see the white envelop lying there. I thought about the promise that I made to myself and I tried my best to become the figure I dream of. It was a progress of deconstruction of my past life and construction of a new one. I would always do something to avoid wasting time as much as possible. I studied English and French, wrote stories, worked out to gain good health, read more than hundred books, studied designing tools like Photoshop, made videos whenever I went home but I was still not satisfied. My cup was always half-full and I wasn't able to find a way to fill it. And finally I collapsed. I wasn't able to 'live a hard working life' no longer. I looked back and I had nothing on my hands. It was like grasping a pile of sand. The yellow tiny grain slipped right between my fingers. I did everything I could ever think of and therefore I had nothing. I felt the uninvited guest coming back to mock me again and make me feel miserable. However, now I was just too tired to let myself into such misery. I stopped everything and watched the calendars flip. I didn't commit suicide on the day of my discharge but I took the letter home. I was about to break down completely so I decided to leave. Put myself in a world surrounded by strangers where I would be completely alone.

During my stay in Paris, I visited a famous bookstore right near the Cité island where Notre Dame was located. I walked between the shelves and tried to look for exotic books that might interest me. There were some books I recognized such as the 'Little Prince' but I didn't know most of them. As I went upstairs to the second floor I found another author who was familiar to me. The French-Algerian writer and philosopher, 'Albert Camus'. I knew how famous his works were but I didn't have the chance to grab one. I decided to open one of the books of his so I picked up the one called 'The Myth Of Sisyphus'. The cover had a drawing of a man trying to roll a large boulder. Soon I realized that the story came from the Greek mythology. I opened the book and read the first sentence. "There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide." I felt an immense shock as if somebody had hit me on the head with a giant hammer. My hands were trembling and I broke out in cold sweat. I was anxious as if I was being watched. I grabbed the book and got out from the bookstore. I headed back to my hostel as fast as I could. I sat on my bunk bed opened the book and tried to put those difficult combination of English words into my eyes. It was nearly impossible to understand most of the pages but I finally reached the end and at that moment I've felt the enlightenment. It was already dark but my room was brighter than ever. I opened my right hand and stared into the palm. Images were passing faster than the speed of sound. I saw myself in those images. I was reading a book, writing a story, studying foreign languages, but that wasn't it. I was enjoying the morning light shedding through the windows, sharing a delicious cuisine with my friends, and spending a lovely time with my family. In those images I wasn't a failure. I was just myself. I thought I had nothing but when I looked closely. The brightest grain of sand was still there shining.

Obviously, I didn't become the figure of my dreams. I couldn't finish my novel, or become a great artist, a famous content creator, but there was no need for a disappointment. I faced many changes during the years of my journey. I was no longer locked in the prison of my own emotions, instead I now had to keys to it. Like the Greek king Sisyphus who was sentenced to roll a large boulder for eternity, I might not be using my time in the most efficient way. However, the great king never gave up on his task and he returned once again to push the boulder up the hill. And just like him I still wanted to become a successful person but now I am learning to enjoy the progress of my actions and find meaningful values in it. I am more likely to fail as I did before. Yet, this time I’ll just wipe the dust off from my pants and stand up again like nothing serious happened. Nowadays, I wait for the morning to come. When the light rises from the horizon I will know that my time is here and I'm ready to live once again.


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