I’ll pull my hoodie up over my face, I won’t run away.

Young Avengers #14, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Young Avengers #14, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

This isn’t about TV, it’s about survival.

2012 was a year I almost died. I had one very specific plan to kill myself in place early in the year, but when I failed to go through with that, I spent the rest of the year in a suicidal haze. It was a dreary coda to a dark period of my life.

2013 was my rebirth. Dropped into my new life covered in the slimy placenta of mental illness, I spent this year rediscovering myself. I found worlds where I felt I could thrive, began to explore new ideas about what I could do with my life. And when things were looking their brightest, it all came to a screeching halt.

I’ve done more documenting than appropriate about my travails during the fall of 2013, so I’ll spare the gory details here. But what it taught me was that this stagnation act, this inability to make real moves forward, would kill me if I let it. And if I couldn’t even kill myself, I’m not about to let my inaction do it.

A lot of my physical stuff from my life pre-breakdown has fallen by the wayside. Books and CDs and records and DVDs and clothes that are never touched anymore. But there was one holdover from that period that never went away: the green Volcom hoodie.

If you know me, you’ve seen it. It’s bright green, for Christ’s sake. And by December 24, 2013, it was a raggedy mess: strips of fabric hanging from the sleeves and hems; a cigarette burn in the hood; a giant hole in the pocket bigger than the size of my fist. But I never stopped wearing it. Of course, I didn’t actually have another hoodie or jacket to wear, but that was only because I never bought one. I never bought one because I was broke, but also because I didn’t want to. To this hoodie, I was Linus, and I clutched for dear life. I lived in that thing, and in some ways, it came to define me.

For Christmas last week, I received four new hoodies. My family wanted there to be no chance of me falling back on the green Volvom hoodie. And in the last week, I haven’t worn it once. The other day I had lunch with my aunt, one of the only people in my family who have really bothered to talk to me about what’s going on in my head and what I’m thinking about the future moving forward. It was an empowering lunch, and I knew it was time to make the next steps in my slow recovery.

It’s time to officially retire the green Volvom hoodie.

Oh sure, I could just throw it away. Or worse, hang it up in my closet and forget about it for years. No, I know what must be done. Death by flame, a true ritual, a funeral pyre. I need to burn the last three years, because as long as I keep holding onto relics from that time, the harder it is to take my next step. I have to truly let go, and I think this is the only way.

Somewhere on the journey of the last few years, I realized that I’m an optimist. As much as I strove for cynicism, and as much as the thoughts in my brain try and convince me that the world is a monster of misery and pain I create myself endlessly, my heart looks for hope. For the first time in a while, a new year finally looks like that hope. I’ll be facing 2014 without one of my closest allies, but I don’t feel alone.

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