|Photographer: Nicole Nodland|
Since I only get one chance at this life, I want it to be as long as possible. I don't think there is anything glamorous about dying young. I feel that dying young just means so many missed opportunities.
But, in a recent interview for The Guardian, singer Lana Del Rey, while talking about her heroes Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, admits that she sees an early death as glamorous and then goes on to say, "I wish I was dead already."
Ironically, Lana is known for singing the song, "Young and Beautiful," with these lyrics: "Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?" It seems to me that she is scared of that time coming — when she is no longer young and beautiful.
Of course, Lana has been criticized for saying this. But I'm not going to criticize her. That's not what the purpose of this blog is. I just wish I could give her a hug and tell her that everything is going to be okay. I wish I could show her that she has such a bright future ahead of her and has the ability to touch so many people's lives.
I understand why she may feel that way. First of all, she lives in a world that, especially for women, glamorizes youth and beauty. On top of that, Lana has had a tough life.
As a teenager, she had drug and alcohol issues and was homeless. On top of that, the media has scrutinized her past — accusing her of being fake — and also scrutinizing her looks — wondering if she's had plastic surgery.
And, in 2012, a hacker accessed much of her personal information on her computer, and released it to the public.
She tells The Guardian that she isn't trying to elicit criticism. She just wants to make music in peace —and she doesn't enjoy being a pop star.
Later, she did say she was tricked into saying this by the reporter, who was talking to her about death before she made the comment. While I do think it's wrong for any reporter to try to illicit a controversial response, still, no matter what they were talking about, it makes me so sad that she would even think, "I wish I was dead already."
This especially struck a cord with Frances Bean, Kurt Cobain's daughter. And rightly so. She knows firsthand that dying young is anything but glamorous. She knows, behind-the-scene, what the results of dying early is — not the construed, idealistic view that dying young means you get a museum exhibit named after you or something.
Frances Bean tweeted, "The death of young musicians isn't something to romanticize. ... I'll never know my father because he died young, and it becomes a desirable feat because people like you think it's 'cool.' Well, it's f**king not. Embrace life, because you only get one life. The people you mentioned wasted that life. Don't be one of those people. You're too talented to waste it away."
I agree with Frances. It means nothing to be able to look "young and beautiful" in a casket. Instead of living your life to the fullest, when you die early, your young body just turns to ash in the ground. Like Frances said — that's just a waste. What good does that do anybody? Does that sound "glamorous" at all to you?
If I could talk to Lana Del Rey, and anyone else who has ever thought about checking out of this life early, this is what I'd want to say:
1. If you don't enjoy your career — like being a pop star — and it makes you dread waking up every morning, then stop doing it! This is your life, no one else's. And life is too short to spend it doing something you hate. You can step out of the spotlight and still make music, or whatever else your passion may be. Your true fans and those who really love you will still follow you and still support you — and the naysayers, well, just screw them!
2. You may think dying early means people will talk highly about you. Yes, people will cry at your funeral, talk about how much they missed you and there may even be articles written about how you died too young. But once your dead, that's it. That's the end. And there's no chance to do anything else with your life or give people even more of a reason to remember you.
3. You have so many people who care about you. For Lana, she has a boyfriend, family and friends who would all be so devastated if she lost her life. If someone I loved died, no matter what age, it would affect me for the rest of my life. And I can say that when you die, so many other's lives would be forever changed — and definitely not for the better. A young death doesn't just affect you but it affects so many others.
4. Think of your goals for the future. Write down your reasons to live and all the things you want to do or see before you die. Remember, if you died today, you wouldn't have to chance to do these things.
5. Most importantly, reach out to others. Don't keep this feeling inside (which is one good thing Lana did. At least she didn't hide how she feels and now, others can help her). Don't be ashamed to seek professional help. A psychiatrist or counselor can help you with your feelings of not wanting to be alive anymore.
6. If the desire to hurt yourself is more than you can bear, make sure you're not alone, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.
Photographer: Nicole Nodland I don't know about you, but I hope to someday be a little, wrinkly old lady, sitting on the porch of my...