Suicide Season

‘Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for.’

  • Kevin Claiborne

Let’s play a game of Russian Roulette.

You and I are seated at a table in a smoke filled room; there’s an old six shooter positioned perfectly between us with a single round floating in one of its chambers. The heavy aromas of mildew and fear cling to your skin causing you to perspire. We’re alone. There’s no one here to save us; the only entrance to the cell is destined to remain locked until only one of us remains. You’re scared. So am I. Our lives have been reduced to this moment where we’ll play a game of chance to see who survives. Nothing else matters right now. It’s just you and I.

There’s a coin beside the gun. We’ll flip to see who shoots first. I pick it up and use my thumb to send it spinning through the air. You call heads. It lands tails side up. I shoot first. I pick up the gun, spin the barrel and stare you dead in the eye. It’s nothing personal. We just lucked out you and I. Our only chance of survival is to have the six shooter’s hammer strike home while the weapon sits in the palm of our hand.

My arm lengthens as I draw down on you. Time slows. Your blood thickens in your veins, your heart rate triples in a desperate attempt to push it through your body. Your hands are clammy. You’re freezing despite the humidity in the room. What do you think about in this moment of absolute fear? What decisions do you live to regret? How many passions were left wanting before you found yourself locked in a room with an irrational writer and a gun?

The answer should be none. We should be living every day to the fullest. Regret should be just a word in the dictionary. But it never is. We humans are creatures of hindsight; we are forever bound to look back at moments and note missed opportunities and failures.

Did you fail to chase your dreams? Or tell your lover how much they mean to you? Were you disappointed that you didn’t invest in those risky shares that ultimately paid huge dividends? No matter what you thought of in your moment of fear you did have regrets. At some point you settled for something other than your true passions and now when your life flashed before your eyes you wished you’d never been so foolish.

You ignored your passions and committed slow suicide. The final scene of your self-sabotage was merely a crazed writer with a gun. Every single sacrifice you had made prior to you and I being locked in a room was what lead you there.

It’s a loaded statement I know. To say that you are committing this form of slow suicide is sure to anger some; and it should. When Kevin Claiborne coined the expression he wasn’t trying to make his audience feel good. He was trying to piss them off. He wanted readers to sit back from their desk, or rise from their armchair and say, “Screw this guy. I’ll show him who’s ignoring their passions.” He wanted anger and emotion. He wanted you to rise and stop settling for less than you deserve. So do I.

It’s why I locked us in that damn room. It’s why I put a busted old six-shooter on the table and told you there was a single round in the chamber. It’s why I ground back the hammer so that the round would never fire. I don’t want to kill your dreams. I want to piss you off to rouse you from your slumber so that you actually start chasing them.

The only thing standing between you and your dreams is the excuses and sacrifices you keep making. You’re comfortable and I get that. I am too. But this state of comfort is suicide season for anyone who dreams of becoming something more. My comfort comes in working a cushy job where I earn a decent wage for doing very little. I could sit here for the rest of my life and allow the flames of my passion to die. I could let the momentum with my writing fade until all that’s left is stone cold ashes of what could have been. Or I can douse the flames of creativity in petrol and watch it burn brighter than ever.

It’s easy to ignore a passion and to deny your heart the opportunity to accomplish what it pumps for. But to do so is a travesty; it is to commit emotional and creative suicide. Think back to those moments of fear when you were staring down the barrel of that shitty old six-shooter. Think of the regrets that haunted you. Remember that spike in your pulse as you fretted over an end that you knew was ultimately inevitable. Do you want to look back on your life and shudder at the comfort you achieved by allowing passions to die? Or do you want to be someone who set the world ablaze and turned a passion and a dream into a reality.

Commit emotional suicide, or step outside your comfort zone and follow your dreams. The choice is yours. You wouldn’t play Russian Roulette with an unstable writer and a loaded gun unless you had no other choice. So why do we actively chose to do so with our dreams?

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

260 thoughts on “Suicide Season”

  1. Damn. What an emotional roller-coaster this was.
    I’m most definitely going to remember this every time I feel the self-doubt creeping into me.
    Thank you for such beautiful writing.

  2. Great imagery, even better questions. Slow suicide should be added to the list of modern diseases – so many suffering from disconnect and no clue as to their creative and spiritual power. Great piece!

  3. And that is why I have given up my management job to write my novel at the age of 52. I would rather die one day smothered by the ashes of an ignited passion than by the quicksand of mediocrity.

  4. No doubt, an inpsirational piece, but you have been caught in a lie. My sassy and brilliant young future friend, you did not grind down the hammer on that gun, and as fate would have it, that single bullet lodged in the chamber hit me right between the eyes. Fortunately, no one’s ever died from a well-conceived metaphor.

    As for the subject at hand, it is my observation that how you see things in this world depends on where you sit. You are 27, with a future that stretches out infinitely before you; I, on the other hand, am quite the opposite – 72, with a past of inifinite possibilities stretching out behind me. And yes, I live with many regrets, but most of those regrets are for things I did, and not what I didn’t do.

    I’m certain I’m going to be accused of – if not guilty of – rationalization; but as I’ve told many willing to listen (and otherwise), without rationalization, none of us could last a day. The truth of the matter is that our choices in life are not always quite so simple as you would have it.

    One can desire to become king, and one may even be richly deserving of that position; but in achiveing that goal, it helps immensely if one chose the right parents. Most of us never stop to think about how much in our lives is determined by an accident of birth. Or as I like to put it, just as the doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, so the self-made man has a fool for a maker.

    I trust you will take this advice in the spirit in which it was intended. As I’ve also told many willing to listen (and otherwise), you get older and wiser, because if you don’t get wiser, you don’t get older.

    1. I can echo your sentiments with a piece I was doing the other day. It was a review of the article by Miya Tokumitsu titled In the “Name of Love,” that seeks to help people avoid getting into believing the “Do what you Love, Love What You Do” mantra. The article can be found here and reviewed in many places such as among others.

      The bottom line is, much (90%) of how we are, how we live or see things comes from who we rightfully are something we cannot change no matter the effort. It is not an excuse for being lazy though.

    2. Agree and don’t agree. I understand when you say he is 27 and at that age the world is at your feet. At the age 51, I can see the past and I understand what your saying, the regrets I have of our past are not necessarily because I didn’t try hard enough, but life got in the way, responsibilities got in the way. When you have a sick kid, pursuing my dream doesn’t even come into the equation. But at 51 with both my boys independent, I have settled into the “Comfortable” couch and Chris has evoked something in me. Let’s not forget Mary an Ordinary girl from Tasmania did marry the Prince of Denmark. So desire/dream can come true too.

  5. In this present age, the age of the dreamer, your words echo in truth. But only for those who believe. Thank you for your voice of inspiration. And for your visit to my blog.

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  8. Great, evocative post. Thank you for your eloquent thoughts. Yes, I agree–get out there and pursue those dreams, chase the desire. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

  9. We are encouraged to live life to the fullest, to follow our passions, but while in the heat of passion, when emotions are high, we often don’t make the best choices, and are then left with those regrets…

  10. Nicely written and it certainly raises an important question. I suspect in many cases, (or at least in my case) it is not a question of following or not following a single passion but in the tradeoffs among passions that cannot all be pursued. Do I pursue the passionate love I have for my kids and stay married or pursue the passion of a new lover? Do I pursue the passion of writing or of drawing or of music or of athletics? Or, do I do all four, but not all that well? Do I pursue the short term passion I have for this smoke, or drink, or drug? Or do I pursue the longer term but quieter passion of having a healthy body?

  11. Best line: “It’s easy to ignore a passion and to deny your heart the opportunity to accomplish what it pumps for. But to do so is a travesty; it is to commit emotional and creative suicide.” Wow…insightful stuff.

  12. Hello Chris, I am new to blogging and I am inspired by this post! If only I could highlight my favorite lines here, I would. Please continue to inspire others like me. I am living in regret for two years now for doing something I will never find fulfillment. I hope to jump and take risk and pursue something that I love and let go all my excuses.

    Hey you might want to post short liner poems/quotes (just a suggestion). Parts of your posts contains very catchy and meaningful phrases that can inspire anyone who reads it. Hope to read most if not all your post.

  13. Yes! Everything about this post just rings so true to me! I watch so many people slowly kill themselves on a daily basis, but they just don’t get it, even when I tell them! They really ought to read this post… though I expect many of them would find excuses to ignore it, too. How very despairful!

  14. Hi Chris, Thank you. Such eloquence and maturity in your writing, and so original – surely a huge plus these days…. Haven’t read your book but forecast a rosy literary future. Except for writers who are in “…predicaments so self-defeating, like cannibals who love self-eating…” I’m all for following your passion(s) in life. All the best to you.

  15. powerful way of making this point. Thanks for visiting my blog site and liking my poem. Take care, Deidra

  16. What an emotive and sobering article, yet at the same time inspiring and motivating, written with such passion. I found my mind racing back to past moments of lost opportunity in favour of comfort and safety. However, my dreams and passions are now fuelled daily, since I lost my son at the age of 32, who can’t chase his dreams and passions anymore. We owe it to ourselves to embrace our lives and be all that we can be, before it’s too late. Thank you for sharing your talent and your message.

    Thank you also for taking the time to read and like my poem The Quickening, I really do appreciate that 💚

  17. I read an article on Kickstarter yesterday about normalizing “crippling self-doubt.” Until you have experienced success in a new venture, that doubt is playing roulette with your passion. I appreciate the creativity of your imagery – it is relevant and represents the conflict well!

  18. Thanks! Have been struggling with how to continue writing, and even if I should, amidst the responsibility of raising 4 teens at home and two in college. Such an encouraging image to get me motivated again.

  19. At 61 my book was accepted for publication. I wrote the story looking at myself as a 30 something and with the wisdom of a 60 year old. Your blog encourages me to continue to write, paint, photograph and make music as the creativity God gave me was stifled in life responsibilities and yes, regrets.

  20. So true! I have to totally agree with your post. I, myself, feel that individuals need to just step outside their comfort zones and try something new. Don’t have a predetermined feeling or expectation, just go with it. If they liked the experience, they are more ilikely to try something again and if they didn’t, perhaps next time they’ll take baby steps out of their comfort zone. I think too many people get comfortable and they’re unwilling to do anything about it. It doesn’t have to be a life changing event, go with your dreams, your passions or your bucket list.

    Thanks for visiting my new site here and liking my post. I appreciate your visit.

  21. Thank you, enjoyed the post, I was actually hypothetically at peace. I wouldn’t have been four years ago, or even six months ago, but I am now.

    It’s a struggle doing everything I can towards my passions and watching that the progress is slow. There are excuses and sacrifices, but also righteous duty. I’ve got two kids and not much family, I take the help I can get and have them be as independent as they can, but my kids are my priority – not an excuse nor sacrifice, after the childcare/discipline/education I do though, have some time to follow my passions (gardening and writing).

    What has helped this week was setting days of focus, Monday and Wednesday to help my daughter do what matters to her (leaving the house all day, exploring, socializing, parks), Tuesday and Thursday for my son (just teaching him to sign and avoiding the car), Friday to keep in touch with my birth family, play games and watch a movie, Saturday and Sunday I take for myself to either pursue my passions or recover enough to pursue them the next week. I guess that’s called boundaries… it’s a new thing for me, but it’s really helped me make time for myself knowing that I do the best I can for the important people in my life, including, but not limited to myself. 🕊️

  22. Perfect piece I needed to read! One of my dreams is to write a novel. Yes, I have one started, but I do not stick with like I should. I allow fear of failure to stall my dream. Not any more!

  23. My goodness!! I love this! I totally relate. I fell down hard, I sank into depression, self pity and gave in to hopelessness. Had been in this situation too long, a shell of my former self, hiding beneath many layers of nothing… Long story short, the universe used someone very close to me to shake me up, and shake me up they did! They were rough, and did not mince words, words that hurt and cut deep- truth does. I got so mad and swore that I would show them that I still had it, that I could still rise from the ‘epic’ fall that was then my life! Back then I was deeply hurt by this person, looking back now I realize they were just tired of seeing me give up, and accept defeat. They had to jostle me, rough me up, so that I could remember who “I was”. I am thankful, more than thankful.

  24. Wow Chris fantastic imagery. This resonated with me very strongly, thank you for the reinforcement of what I already know to be true. I’d love to know how you started writing and got to this point! I’m from Brisbane too and am working towards writing books at some stage, hopefully by 40 (’22). Thanks for stopping by the blog- and getting me to check you out. Now you’ve got yet another follower 🙂

  25. Well done, you!!!!! And those words are coming from the mouth of a born-and-bred American. What’s more, the quality of the Comments themselves is further testament to your deft pen-wielding, be it virtual or actual. Yep, I needed that double-barreled shot of gumption to giddy-up my stalled novella and some other neglected projects. Thanks for your visit to Words Divinely Wrought so I could find my way to your door.

  26. Powerful writing. Seems the story of my life. Instead of following my passions I keep on the safe yet boring side.

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