The First House: Me, Myself And I

Ah yes, the First House. It’s truly all about you. It’s about your ego, first impressions, your energy, your overall appearance.1sthouse It’s about who you are. Why you are.

While all of the Houses, and for that matter your entire natal chart, are obviously also about you, the First House is literally about you, where other Houses are more about the various areas of your life. The cusp of the First House is your Ascendant, or rising sign, which indicates the way in which others perceive you. As a general rule, you will exhibit the traits of any sign(s) that are ruled by planets in your First House. So, for instance, let’s say you have the Sun in your First House. The Sun rules the sign of Leo; therefore, you’re going to exhibit Lion characteristics such as pride, a love of the limelight, and generosity. Furthermore, any First House planet whose placement is within 10 degrees of the Ascendant will amplify the traits of the sign(s) which are ruled by those planets.

But suppose you don’t have any planets in your First House. After all, there are Twelve Houses and just ten planets (in astrology, the Sun and Moon are considered to be planets), so there are always going to be at least two empty Houses in a chart. So what does it mean for the life areas represented by those vacant Houses?

In an empty First House, meaning without any planets, asteroids, or nodes, this could indicate that the focus of the individual isn’t really on what this House represents: egos, first impressions, appearances. It can also mean that they are somewhat lost or aimless when it comes to those particular aspects of their life. Perhaps they are confused about who they really are. In any event, when a House is empty, it can still be interpreted by examining the ruling sign of that particular House. The ruling sign of the First House is the Ascendant. Whatever the Ascendant is, the qualities associated with that sign will shed some light on the native’s approach to issues that are associated with the First House.

To illustrate, let’s assume we’re looking at a chart with an empty First House and the individual’s Ascendant is Aries. Well, we all know that some typical Ram characteristics are impatience, a desire to be the leader, and stubbornness. Again, because the First House represents the self, the ego, etc, Arien qualities will tend to manifest relative to the First House’s theme of self, giving others the impression of someone who is very “me, me, me” and who will be very defensive of anything affecting the ego; for instance, they might stubbornly defend something about which they are criticized (constructively or otherwise), even if they are well aware, deep down, that the offending party has a valid point.

Next we would take a look at the House placement of Aries’ ruling planet and find its position in the chart. Mars is the ruler of the Ram, so let’s say we find Mars in the Fifth House of Creativity. This means that the First House’s ruler (Mars) is placed in the Fifth House, therefore the First and the Fifth Houses are connected. In this faux scenario, this might indicate that the ego (First House) is of particular importance when undertaking creative pursuits, a competitive streak, and definitely indicates a need to win. It could also infer that this person is a sore loser.

5houseSo let’s take a look at the various ways in which effects of planets in the First House manifest in the life of the individual.

Sun in the First House
This is someone who insists on being the center of attention. They have formidable willpower and determination, tend to come on rather strong, and strive to take control of any given situation. Sometimes a person with this Sun placement is actually quite self-conscious, which seems counterintuitive to what we would expect to see in someone with the spotlight-craving Sun in the House of Self…but when this is the case, the individual is very adept at concealing their insecurities and putting on a confident face. Alternatively, a Sun in the First House can cause the native to develop a sometimes unhealthy obsession with their appearance. This is an innovative person with the uncanny knack for recognizing and seizing opportunities, usually turning them into successful ventures.

Moon in the First House
The Moon, which is also the ruler of the water sign of Cancer, is an ultra-sensitive, emotional planet that, when located in the First House, gives us a person who wears their heart on their sleeve. This is someone whose moods can ebb and flow like the tides, which can cause difficulties in close relationships, particularly because of an innate tendency to knee-jerk reactions and emotional outbursts. This one is easily wounded emotionally, often taking offense where none was intended. Emotions tend to cloud their judgment and govern their decision-making, and try as they might to hide this hypersensitivity, they simply can’t do it. This person needs a partner with whom they feel safe and secure in opening up and sharing their innermost feelings in order to find fulfillment in relationships.

Mercury in the First House
Chatty Mercury in the First House gives us a person who is upbeat and enthusiastic in their manner of communication. This is an individual who loves to talk…so much, in fact, that they have a tendency to dominate conversations and energetically dart from topic to topic. Many times, even when they appear to be listening attentively to someone, they’re actually silently planning and rehearsing what they’re going to say next. The native is open-minded with the admirable ability to effortlessly adapt to a wide variety of different people and situations. This is a curious individual whose first reactions are more cerebral than emotional. An Aquarian girlfriend of mine has this Mercury placement and this, combined with my own talkative Gemini-Air weighted chart, means that more often than not, we find ourselves immersed in lively discussions…with each of us simultaneously talking over the other.

Venus in the First House
This position of Venus, planet of love, beauty, and pleasure, often results in an extremely personable, attractive individual to whom others seem to be magnetically drawn. They have a deep need to be liked and appreciated, and this can sometimes express itself by appearing phony and/or superficial. If the native feels they are not liked by someone, they frequently resort to passive-aggressive behavior toward those against whom they harbor resentment. A person with this Venus placement craves love and affection and needs to have a romantic partner, and sometimes they’ll stay in a relationship with someone with whom they are not truly happy because “it’s better than having no one.” A master of the art of persuasion and charm, this one rarely has trouble winning others to their cause.

Mars in the First House
Mars — which rules the sign of Aries, giving the native the characteristics of the Ram — is the planet of aggression and assertiveness, and someone with a Mars placement in the First House is a dynamic, tightly-wound individual who often comes on quite strong, perhaps even overbearing and controlling. This person embarks on new projects with unprecedented enthusiasm, only to quickly lose interest and spontaneously jump onboard the next adventure that catches their restless eye. They are easily distracted, very independent, and often straightforward, speaking without thinking, thus causing hurt feelings, but this is usually without any intended malice; it’s just that their mouths move too fast for their brains to edit what comes out. This is a person who needs excitement and probably professes to abhor drama…but subconsciously has a need for it, and if they feel there isn’t enough excitement in their life, they will often — again, subconsciously — manufacture the very drama they claim to detest.

Jupiter in the First House
Jupiter rules the sign of Sagittarius, so a person with this placement will exhibit the personality traits of an Archer. This means the native is someone whose glass is always half-full, has unbelievably good luck, and a bluntness and over-honesty that can get them in trouble with the shocking, sometimes offensive things that spew from their mouths. A First House Jupiter native can easily fall into the trap of relying too much on their luck, finding themselves in some pretty sticky situations as a result. Because Jupiter is also the planet of abundance, someone with this placement sometimes struggle with weight gain. They are drawn to travel, particularly overseas, and have an overwhelming desire to see the world. The individual usually has strong moral convictions and are often perceived as being very “by the book.” However, they can also come across as conceited or egotistical.

Sagittarius HAS to be the sign of good luck. If it weren’t, everyone with a Sagittarius Sun sign, or rising sign, or Jupiter in the First House would be murdered before the age of ten for saying outrageous things. ~ Astrologer Bob Marks    sadge   

 

 

 

Saturn in the First House
Saturn, the ruling planet of Capricorn, imposes limitations and obstacles in our lives and gives the native qualities of the Goat. When its placement is in the First House, this translates to a person who tends to have a natural frown or stern facial expression, giving others the impression that they are in deep, serious contemplation. They’re probably often told, sometimes by complete strangers, to “cheer up!” which the native finds puzzling because they are in a perfectly fine mood. This is a person who takes responsibility for others very seriously and will frequently put their own needs on the back burner in order to avoid the guilt and anxiety to which they are prone if they –gasp! — dare to put their own needs first once in a while. A First House Saturn is brutally self-critical and it would serve them well to learn to relax a bit and talk to themselves the way they would talk to a good friend if they were in their situation. The native has difficulty turning down requests for help and learning that it’s really okay to say no can be a lifelong lesson.

Uranus in the First House
Uranus rules the sign of Aquarius, which is easily the most eccentric, unconventional sign of the zodiac. In the First House of Self, its influence gives us an individual who loves to be different for the sake of being different and is quite proud of their usually unorthodox perspectives. This is a humanitarian who dreams of a Utopian society where everyone is happy and content. A First House Uranus person probably dresses a little differently than others and if this one makes plans with you, they are notorious for being late, canceling, rescheduling, or making some other change. Your lesson if you have a First House Uranus in your life is to expect the unexpected and to realize that the only thing that is ever 100 percent certain with them is change. The native treasures their freedom in every sense of the word and will make a beeline for the nearest exit the second they begin to feel trapped or tied down in any way. But this individual, with all their eccentricities, is one of the best friends you could ever hope to have, as they value their friendships like no other.

Neptune in the First House
Neptune’s influence on an individual is an avoidance of reality, seeing only what they want to see. It’s the planet of illusions and dreams. They wear the rose-colored glasses of which I often speak, due to my own Neptune-ruled Pisces Ascendant. When Neptune’s placement is in the First House, others will probably see a sensitive, creative, poetic individual, and as one who seems to have their head in the clouds. It’s interesting to note that a First House Neptune is often perceived differently by different people, as the native often changes appearance or demeanor in an almost chameleon-esque fashion. People are intrigued by this person and are easily drawn to them. Pity parties are commonplace with this individual. They tend to absorb the problems of others as if they are their own, and this person is predisposed to struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse (to escape reality as mentioned above) as well as depressive disorders and suicidal ideations. It’s important to note that I did not state that this individual will abuse drugs or alcohol, suffer from depression, or commit suicide; I simply stated that they are predisposed to these behaviors.

Pluto in the First House
The personal influence of Pluto, planet of change, in the First House is expressed in an air of intensity which others immediately pick up on and are intrigued by. The first impression others receive of this person is usually of someone who is somewhat intimidating yet very secretive. The fear of rejection is strong here and even if you think you’re 007, do not make the foolish mistake of trying to deceive this individual as they will quickly and easily see through your dishonesty, almost intuitively, as if they can read your mind. Suspicious by nature, a First House Pluto will relentlessly pursue the truth, researching, tirelessly digging for information, and they are dyed-in-the-wool experts at it. The native’s first reaction to a situation is to often become defensive and to attempt to uncover any perceived or actual ulterior motives on the part of others. This is not a trusting individual, to say the least.

A Brief Introduction To The Twelve Houses Of Astrology

Yesterday, I took a short drive down to the home of a long-time, treasured Aquarius friend/former coworker for a long-overdue let’s-hang-out-and-shoot-the-shit visit. As we sat chatting in the living room of her sprawling rural home, the topic of conversation eventually (and inevitably) turned to astrology when my Water Bearing amigo wondered aloud how, if her Jupiter (planet of luck and abundance) is in its dominion (the zodiac sign it naturally rules) in Sagittarius (a spontaneous, freedom-loving fire sign), which, theoretically, should enhance the associated characteristics of both Jupiter and Sagittarius, why is it that not only is she not a fan of spontaneity, but is actually more of a homebody who occasionally even finds herself wondering if she borders on agoraphobic. After all, this doesn’t fit the classic description of a Jupiter-Sagittarian at all.

My Aquarian comrade. But Jupiter in Sadge? It just doesn't fit. Why is that?

My Aquarian comrade whose Jupiter-Sadge placement just doesn’t fit. Why is that?

[…] Jupiter-Sadge is also big on travel, the further the distance and the greater the degree of spontaneity, the better! […] Between their far and wide wanderlust adventures, always ready to jump into new experiences with both feet…[…] ~ excerpt from Lucky Star: Jupiter In The Signs – Jupiter In Sagittarius


So: what gives?

Could it be that on the date and time of her birth, Jupiter was retrograde? Sure, it’s possible. After all, Jupiter stalls for several days at a time and then becomes retrograde for about four months each year, and if this is the case (whether it’s with Jupiter or any other planet’s retrograde motion) on your date of birth, it can influence your natal chart in a variety of ways, depending on numerous other factors.

Is it possible that Jupiter is somehow afflicted in her chart?

Or could those typical Jupiter-Sadge qualities be blunted by the House in which Jupiter’s placement Jupiterhappens to be in my Water Bearer chum’s natal chart? Furthermore, could it be due to all or a combination of the above?

“Um…okaaay…my…’house’ in my…where…uh…what is my ‘house?’” she stammered in bewilderment.

Not to worry, dear Water Bearing grasshopper. I’m going to explain to you exactly what I mean when I say “Houses” (well, I’m gonna nutshell it; we’ll delve more deeply into the meanings of each of the twelve Houses, what they represent, and their specific effects in upcoming posts.)  All treasured friends/followers/readers are invited and encouraged to come along for the ride as I illustrate an abbreviated overview of the twelve astrological Houses, using my Aquarian pal’s own natal chart as our example. Ready? Great!

First, let’s take a quick look at the twelve Houses in the astrological chart. They are:

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First House – House of self, physical traits, ego, first impressions, new beginnings. Natural ruler: Aries
Second House – House of money & possessions; also of property, acquisitions, self-worth. Natural ruler: Taurus
Third House – House of communication & short trips (ones not requiring an overnight stay); also of childhood, higher education, siblings, intelligence. Natural ruler: Gemini
Fourth House – House of home, family, mother or mother figures, ancestry. Natural ruler: Cancer
Fifth House – House of creativity, pleasure, love, sex, children, games, recreational activities. Natural ruler: Leo
Sixth House – House of health, acquired skills, routine tasks, services performed to benefit others, employment. Natural ruler: Virgo
Seventh House – House of close relationships such as marriage or business partners, known enemies, caregiving, pets. Natural ruler: Libra
Eighth House – House of reincarnation, death & rebirth, sexual relationships, deeply committed relationships, finances, occult or psychic matters, anything considered “taboo” by social standards, self-transformation. Natural ruler: Scorpio
Ninth House – House of long-distance or foreign travel, religion, culture, law, ethics, introspection. Natural ruler: Sagittarius
Tenth House – House of career, social standing, government, authority, father or father figures, how the public sees you. Natural ruler: Capricorn
Eleventh House – House of friendships, groups or clubs, hopes, wishes. Natural ruler: Aquarius
Twelfth House – House of self-undoing, mysticism, secret enemies, sorrow, the unconscious/subconscious mind, privacy, self-imposed imprisonments. Natural ruler: Pisces

My Water Bearing buddy was born on January 24, 1972 at 6:30am CST in Norman, Oklahoma. When we enter her specific birth info into a natal chart calculator, it spits out a personalized chart for her based on that info, as shown below:

DawnsNatalChartA natal chart (sometimes called a birth chart) is essentially a map of the sky at the location where you were born at the exact time of your birth, showing the placements of the Sun, Moon, and planets in the constellations. Therefore, what we’re seeing here is a map of the sky as it appeared on January 24, 1972 at 6:30am in Norman, Oklahoma.

Notice that the horoscope wheel is divided into twelve sections resembling a pie, consisting of 30 degrees per piece, each of which are ruled by a particular zodiac sign. Each of these sections are called Houses and in a natal chart, the First House is always governed by the individual’s Ascendant (or rising sign), which is the astrological sign that was on the Eastern horizon at the location and exact moment of your birth.

My Aquarian buddy’s Ascendant is in 18 degrees Capricorn; therefore, her First House is ruled by Capricorn (its symbol is shown on the far left side of the wheel, indicating the First House.)

The symbol for Capricorn, her Ascendant and ruler of her First House

The symbol for Capricorn, her Ascendant and ruler of her First House

Now, to address that pesky Jupiter-Sadge question she had. Looking at her chart, we see Jupiter’s placement is in 27 degrees Sagittarius in the Twelfth House. You’ll recall the Twelfth House has reign over our secrets, sorrow, and self-undoing. To summarize, any planet in the Twelfth House is often fraught with difficulties involving the qualities of that planet/sign. Allow me to expand on this statement.

What we first need to understand is that because the Twelfth House is naturally ruled by Pisces (twelfth sign of the zodiac), a planet in the Twelfth House — regardless of which sign governs it in the natal chart, in this case, Sagittarius — Piscean traits (self-undoing, creator of one’s own downfall, susceptibility to emotional issues such as depression, suicidal ideations, and struggles with addiction — many of which manifest secretly; after all, this is the House of secretive behavior) exemplify themselves in any planet(s) placed in this House. Because my friend’s Jupiter (planet of abundance) is in the Twelfth House, this suggests that she will find comfort in solitude, perhaps in seclusion from the world (agoraphobic tendencies?), places which others might find uncomfortable. This placement also gives us someone who is adept at healing or counseling. On that note, I can personally attest to the fact that, more than once, this amazing, intelligent Aquarian has opened my eyes with her uncanny wisdom, helping me to help myself through some extremely difficult times.

And there we have our answer.

Examining the possibility that Jupiter was retrograde on the date and time of my Water Bearer chum’s birth, however, indicates that Jupiter was not in retrograde at that time. It didn’t become retrograde until April 25, 1972 at 12:06am GMT, and this retrograde motion lasted until 7:18am GMT on August 25, 1972.

Again, this has been only the briefest of overviews on the Houses of astrology. Up next: we’ll take a riverboat journey through the details of each individual House and in which ways they affect your life. Stay tuned…

Suicide Solution: Friends To The End

depressionShe eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak…
I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks…
I’ve been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap…
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black. ~ Nirvana, Heart-Shaped Box

It’s no secret that I frequently lament being saddled with a depressive Pisces Ascendant, particularly on the occasions when it rears its moody head and I find myself wallowing in actual or perceived misery. That said, it would be ludicrous of me to blame every bout of melancholy solely on having a watery rising sign. But hey, it’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to.

Even so, I stand by my previous assertion that the zodiac sign most likely to struggle with suicidal ideations is none other than the Fishes. Furthermore, this is the sign that is one of the more susceptible to depression (obviously) as well as substance abuse. Pisces is the sign of the dreamer, the sign of shoulda – woulda – coulda, the sentimental poet, forever wishing things to be as they once were, or at least different from the way they perceive things to currently be.

I should probably point out here that I am not saying every poor bastard on the planet who has a Pisces Sun, Ascendant, or Moon is doomed to a miserable existence. What I am saying is that the rose-colored glasses through which many of these folks view the world certainly can and frequently does predispose them to issues with depressive disorders. The all-too-true story that follows is a personal example. It is also one I desperately wish had never happened for me to be able to tell it.

My younger son, a 17 year-old Taurus-Gemini cusp, was always…well…different, right from the get-go. He wasn’t reaching certain developmental milestones as expected, such as rolling over, crawling, becoming more mobile. After several months of physical exams and neurological evaluations, along with weekly in-home sessions with a pediatric physical therapist, his doctor finally declared that there was nothing physically wrong with my baby boy and “he could do these things if he wanted to, but for some reason, he doesn’t want to.” As predicted, it was as if he simply decided he wanted to one day when, a few months shy of his second birthday, he took off walking like a pro.

Over the next fourteen years, he exhibited other unusual traits as well as some turbulent emotional issues, and was at one time or another diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, ODD, IED, OCD, major childhood depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, among a plethora of additional emotional disorders identified by their initials. It wasn’t until my Taurus cusp son was approaching his sixteenth birthday that he was properly diagnosed as having Asperger syndrome (AS), which is a high functioning form of autism, and which in hindsight explained everything perfectly, right down to the developmental delays in infancy and toddlerhood. He was also re-evaluated for the conditions he’d previously been diagnosed as having…and was found not to meet the diagnostic criteria for any of them. Because there are no “blanket” medications for Asperger’s as a whole (only for individual issues that may arise because of it), for the first time in nearly eleven years, his doctor ordered him to stop all of his medications. Almost immediately, there was a significant improvement in every aspect of his life with which he had previously struggled. Although I felt vindicated and relieved that he had finally received a correct diagnosis, I was — and still am — extremely angry that because it took so long to obtain the diagnosis, my son suffered needlessly for years when he could have been being properly treated with, for example, occupational therapy. But I digress… (and this is definitely the subject of a future post.)

imagesCAM1A5WLI wish I was like you
Easily amused…
Find my nest of salt
Everything’s my fault. ~ Nirvana, All Apologies

Anywho, “Aspies,” as they are sometimes called, are often extremely intelligent with well-above average IQs (my son’s IQ is nearly 140), possess extensive vocabulary skills, and have an uncanny ability to commit things to memory. For those of you who are unfamiliar with AS, let me try to paint you at least part of a picture. If you are a fan of the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, you no doubt know the eccentric character Sheldon Cooper (flawlessly and hilariously portrayed by Jim Parsons). Sheldon is a Nobel prize-aspiring theoretical physicist, a socially inept genius with a memory like a steel trap who constantly reminds others of his superior intelligence. And although the show’s creators deny the character has it, Sheldon Cooper exhibits some of the textbook features of AS. Even Jim Parsons has stated he believes Sheldon has AS, and other Aspies frequently recognize themselves in Sheldon as well.

During the time my Aspie son and I lived in Arkansas, he met and became instant best friends with Kevin, a Pisces not quite three months older than he, and who had shared many of the same struggles. Although my young Bull tells me he always suspected Kevin was an Aspie, in addition to Kevin “liking” some autism pages on Facebook, it was something that they never talked about; furthermore, my son never mentioned that he himself was an Aspie because “[he] didn’t feel like it was important.” And I suppose it really wasn’t. What mattered was that they each recognized a kindred spirit in the other, whatever the reason.

From Kevin's Facebook page...ironically, posted as a joke several months prior to his death

From Kevin’s Facebook page…ironically, posted as a joke several months prior to his death

Again last night I had that strange dream
Where everything was exactly how it seemed
Where concerns about the world getting warmer
The people thought they were just being rewarded
For treating others as they’d like to be treated
For obeying stop signs and curing diseases
For mailing letters with the address of the sender
Now we can swim any day in November
Don’t wake me, I plan on sleeping in. ~ The Postal Service, Sleeping In

Have you ever met someone and just clicked immediately, as though you had known each other forever? Well, that was how it was with these two. When they weren’t together in school, they were laughing and chatting via headsets as they played Xbox Live, texting or talking on the phone, Facebooking, or hanging out on weekends, almost exclusively at the house in which Kevin lived with his aunt. And when we moved out-of-state last summer, the miles that now separated these kindred spirits mattered not; they remained every bit as close as they had been since day one. The all-night Xbox Live marathons continued, as did the texting, the phone calls, and the Facebooking, literally on a daily basis. More recently, they had begun to discuss the idea of becoming roommates after their eighteenth birthdays next year. They considered relocating to Oklahoma or Kansas to do the roomie thing, or perhaps the possibility of Kevin heading out to Arizona where my teenage Bull currently resides.

This 17 year-old Piscean, in my opinion, was probably somewhat misunderstood by those who hadn’t taken the time to really know him. Not unlike my own son, he had a wicked, albeit dark sense of humor, which many people weren’t always sure how to take. He was also extraordinarily intelligent with a well-above average IQ. On the few occasions I met him, he struck me as being remarkably similar to my own son, which is probably why I liked him. Kevin thrived on attention, even if it was for something negative. Like my teenage Bull, he too had had a few skirmishes with the law and subsequently found himself on probation. Additionally, like my son, he clearly enjoyed saying things for shock value, to get a reaction.

Tragically, I can’t help but wonder if this was at least partly the reason that no one responded — and one person actually “liked” it — when this young Pisces posted a suicide note on his Facebook page.

imagesCA5V4B8KFuck critics, fuck your review
Even if you like me, fuck you;
Fuck your mom, fuck your mom’s mama
Fuck the Beastie Boys and the Dalai Lama. ~ Insane Clown Posse, Fuck The World

A chilling status update, less than 24 hours prior to his death

A disturbing status update, less than 24 hours prior to his death

If there’s anything I am capable of understanding, it’s how someone can get into the mindframe where dying sounds like a great idea. I’m no stranger to suicidal ideations; I’ve been there myself…many times. Fortunately, it’s been quite some time since I last seriously considered or even flirted with the notion of closing my eyes in eternal slumber. What I can’t seem to grasp, however, is how or why someone would deliberately choose a painful, prolonged, agonizing method in which to exit their life. Intense hatred of oneself? Seems obvious, but surely there’s more to it than that…right?

Or, maybe there isn’t. Maybe the reason really is that simple…so deceptively simple we look right past it.

A look through this troubled teenage Piscean’s Facebook timeline reveals a glimpse into at least a snippet of what was going through his

Truly, a thousand words...posted several months prior to his death

Truly, a thousand words…posted several months prior to his death

head in the months, days, hours, even minutes before he took deliberate action to bring about his own demise. There are posts, pictures, and videos (mostly shared, not original) that are thought-provoking, nonsensical, hilarious, spot-on observant, disgusting, intelligent, offensive, laugh-out-loud funny, and somewhat disturbing, yet they are all intriguing when you consider the frame of mind of the individual who posted them.

Yeah, it's funny. But I suspect Kevin was less like "Tim" than he realized...

Yeah, it’s funny. I believe Kevin wanted to be like “Tim” and probably even thought he was. But I suspect he was more like “everyone” than he realized, or would care to admit…

Jace is my teenage Bull. And best friends, they definitely were.

Jace is my teenage Bull. And best friends, they definitely were.

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Ha! Great advice. I do it all the time.

There are so many more. Entirely too many to even think about sharing all of them, or even most of them. But this is just a sampling. This sharp, quick-witted Piscean definitely had a sense of humor.

kevinleaving8am04sept2013One of the last images Kevin uploaded to his timeline is one that hopefully won’t haunt my grieving Taurus son for the rest of his days. It is a screenshot of an undated chat conversation between the two of them, in which he tagged my Aspie Bull, posted at 8am CDT on the day of his death. As you can see, Kevin states, “I’m leaving.” And…he did. But not before crafting at least two suicide notes: a wistful, heartfelt yet brief message which he sent privately to my son, wishing him all the best in life and telling my son he loved him, and a more angst-filled second one announcing his intentions to Facebook.

Capture9

This horrific declaration was posted on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 12:22pm CDT.

Sadly, this time it wasn’t solely for shock value. After posting this bitter letter to the world at large, 17 year-old Kevin did exactly what he stated he would do. He doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire outside his grandmother’s home. He was rushed to the children’s burn center, with burns covering 99% of his body.

imagesCAW7ACN0Nothing is real but pain now…
Hold my breath as I wish for death;
Oh please God, wake me… ~ Metallica, One

Kevin passed away at 11:20pm CDT that evening, surrounded by his devastated family including his father, stepmother, stepsister and stepbrother in-law, and the grief-stricken grandmother at whose home it all took place.

Why was this sweet little Pisces such a tortured soul?

What kind of inner turmoil eventually drove this happy little boy to take his own life…and in such a horrific way?

Suicides by burning, or self-immolation, while common in countries such as India and Afghanistan, account for less than one percent of all suicides in the U.S. How does someone get to the point of such sheer desperation? What has to take place in a person’s life that is so unbearable that they find not just death, but a fiery, violent, excruciatingly painful death preferable? Why would anyone purposely choose such a torturous manner of death? Was it a big “fuck you” to the world on his way out? One final statement for shock value? A protest against what he viewed as all the wrongs in the world, as he mentioned in his post about self-immolation? To punish the folks in his life he resented? Did he simply hate himself that much? All of the above? None of the above?

By all accounts, Kevin had a loving, caring family. He frequently claimed that no one cared, that no one wanted him around…but this was certainly not the case, evidenced by the unimaginable grief, the tears shed by so many who can’t understand why he didn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t believe he was truly loved and wanted. Why couldn’t, or didn’t he believe this?

Soooo not true.

Maybe Kevin hated himself so much that he didn’t believe it was possible for anyone to love or care about him, and/or perhaps he didn’t feel that he was worthy of anyone’s love. His chosen method of suicide is certainly steeped in intense self-hatred. Although the rest of us can see quite clearly that was absolutely not true, that he was worthy and he was loved, it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, whatever the reason, it was Kevin’s reality. Our perceptions are our reality.

And, just maybe, it’s not for anyone else to understand the goings-on inside the exceptional mind of this tortured Piscean soul. We can wax philosophical all day long and never will we know with 100 percent certainty why this young man with the potential to be anything, to do anything, chose to exit this life when and in the way he did.

The last song Kevin listened to was this cover of Cheap Trick's classic "I Want You to Want Me" by Gary Jules

The last song Kevin listened to was this cover of Cheap Trick’s classic “I Want You to Want Me” by Gary Jules

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin’…
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?
I want you to want me…
I need you to need me…
I’d love you to love me. ~ Cheap Trick (covered by Gary Jules), I Want You To Want Me

I hope and pray that he has found the peace in death which evidently eluded him during his way too brief lifetime.

Rest well, sweetie. We’ll see you on the Other Side.

Rest well, sweet Kevin... February 26, 1996 - September 4, 2013

Rest well, sweet Kevin…
February 26, 1996 – September 4, 2013

I have lost the will to live…
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me…
Need the end to set me free
Things not what they used to be…
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this can’t be real…
Cannot stand this hell I feel. ~ Metallica, Fade to Black


NOTE: I will be participating on behalf of Team Kevin in the 2013 Little Rock Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention on November 2. If you would like to take part, or simply make a donation (no matter how small), please visit Team Kevin’s AFSP fundraising page.