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Before I came to ASH I was existing in a lifetime's habit of never saying anything, pass-timing, small-talking, how-do-you-do and what-do-you-do-ing. Of course, in all this, I was actually talking a lot (but saying nothing) and making plenty of noise. Now I talk very little (and my old friends think I am mute): but I wonder if I am now saying more.

I never thought a day would come when I would feel minded to say the things I have, openly and publicly. And I never thought I'd see a day when I'd hear such things, and be able to hear them, and be strong enough to read and re-read such things.

Maybe 'belonging' to ASH, in communion with other ASHers, has its paradoxes, not least that I wonder if it has strengthened me. I came here originally, in March I think, merely to research a method, very matter-of-factly: I'm still here in December, my method perfected and filed away and almost forgotten. But something else has happened: I've started to engage with other people, like I've never engaged before. That's why every time I think I should be leaving ASH I just can't.

In March I could never have spoken the things I now do. In March I could never have listened to the things I now do. What other posters have to say are so deeply dreadful, far more dreadful than an ounce of my own experiences, and yet I find myself listening, and listening without turning away in embarrassment: this is my ASH paradox, that by coming here to find out how to die I seem to be stronger in my living.

Of course I still want to die.

Tell that to the Daisies with their certainties and their truths lifted straight out of books.


Last update: Saturday, June 19, 1999 17:10

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