by Ang Kia Yee

[t/w: descriptions of past suicidal thoughts & depression]

I discovered this song on Spotify today. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but the singer’s voice and emotion made it difficult not to sink in, to feel for him. Even more so with the child’s bright and soft voice. I sent it to a friend, who later found and sent me the lyrics. It was difficult to keep myself from crying on the train as I read them. The way they swallow their singer and even the very act of voicing/ singing was too much. It brought me back to the hopelessness I swam in when I was 11, when I was 12, 13, 14,… I was in a pitch-dark cave of a cave of a cave inside myself, completely isolated and alienated from myself, from any form of love I was still receiving from the world. I trudged and writhed and thrashed and sobbed, so deep in suffering that I could not see anything else. I was ready to end everything then. This song brings me back.

As the lyrics sank in and the tears welled up, I found myself gripped by the desperate, urgent need to run toward 太一 the singer, to speak with him, to hold him, to comfort him, to make sure he did not give up on his life. I did not need to question if he had written the song on his own, because these lyrics could not have been sung by anyone but their writer. (I just checked, in case. And yes, he composed, wrote, produced, did everything except the parts where the child’s voice comes in.)

I don’t want 太一 to ever be alone like this, these words leaving cold imprints everywhere inside, on his heart, his lungs, his mind, his stomach,… He is probably okay, perhaps he has even moved on, but this fear continues to wind through me, that the him in the song, like my past self, will sink through these words, through this bleak chorus that repeats itself, into devastation. Having been there, how can I not fear this for someone else?

I think the most difficult bit was that self-annihilating gesture I mentioned earlier, where a part of the lyrics talk about how it’s a lie that singing comforts or makes things better. Because for me it’s like, even if someone expresses utter sadness and hopelessness in their song or poem or whatever form, the act of voicing/ uttering is a sure sign of something fighting to get out, to get help, to make known, to survive. To fold upon yourself and declare your very act of speaking, through which your words are reaching me, useless or pointless… That brings me to my knees.