I Keep Walking

Written by Raine Crandall

Content Warning: This article discusses topics of suicide and suicidal ideation, with a specific focus on the experiences within the trans and queer communities. The content includes personal narratives about coping with such thoughts and feelings, and it references methods of finding support and moments of joy amidst the struggle. Please be aware that this content may be triggering for some readers. It is intended to offer insight, support, and resources for those dealing with similar issues. If you are in crisis, please reach out to trained crisis lines (especially queer/trans), friends, or family who love and support you, or call 911, or visit the emergency room. 

How do we talk about suicide and suicidal ideation? What does this look like for the trans and queer community? I experience suicidality as a queer, trans student, and I know there are also many other people on campus with similar experiences, including students, staff, and professors. Trans and queer people have higher rates of suicide, with feelings of isolation, refusal to be seen by others, and being shut down when lived experience could add to a conversation. When our lived experience is denied, questioned, or ridiculed, it is more difficult to see the beauty and reasons to stay alive. Sitting with the harsh realities of family, friends, strangers, profs, or acquaintances being insensitive at best, or outright transmisic at worst, is not something I want for anyone. 

Yet, this is only one side of my story. I am also learning to find my trans joy while sitting with my suicidality. I have found comfort and love from the people who have been patient and kind, family who love me, writing through hard feelings, texting crisis lines when I need them, taking pictures, nature, and moving my body. 

I have begun a practice of acknowledging the feelings of not wanting to be in this world anymore, reminding myself it is hard, and it is okay to feel this way. I call crisis lines trained in non-carceral and trans-affirming peer support as another way to care for myself and reduce pressure on those closest to me. The volunteers witness your feelings, do not judge, and care for you as a person. I have also started a practice of writing, and some of my poems are about suicidality. I would like to share ‘I keep walking’ with others who may be feeling the same way, especially for my trans, queer siblings. Suicide and suicidality happen when the world is more than we can bear, and I want us to know the world is better with all of us here. 

The following links are for trans, queer, and marginalized folks:

TransLifeLine: 877-330-6366. This is a peer-support phone service operated by trans people for trans and questioning peers. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 11:00 am-7:00 pm MT. Hotline – Trans Lifeline 

ThriveLifeLine: 1-313-662-8209 Text THRIVE anytime, anywhere to access a text-based crisis line run by and for marginalized individuals. Welcome to THRIVE (thrivelifeline.org)

@strongeruwellness: An Instagram account dedicated to whole human, non-carceral wellness coaching and peer support for people on the margins.

UofL Counselling Services: Counselling Services | University of Lethbridge (ulethbridge.ca)

UofL Medical Clinic: Health Centre | University of Lethbridge (ulethbridge.ca)

Editor’s note: Non-carceral describes a community-based, harm-reduction strategy that is voluntary, accessible, culturally relevant, and completely separate from the criminal justice system in terms of oversight, management, staffing, financing, and all forms of consequences.

I keep walking

Every day

My feet on the rocks The river going past,  a companion, with me Hoof prints, paw prints Others walk this path too I’m not alone

Every day 

Walking quick, Singing, running out of breath  Up the side and down

Trust my feet, my body Don’t think Just move 

Every day

I find a rocky place Searching for today’s rock Don’t think too hard 

I hear the water in my ears  Feel the sun on my face The ground under my feet

Every day 

Under the bridge, Past the geese, Keep going

Slow down Feel the heart beating I feel stronger

Listen to my body  Trust it Keep walking

Photo courtesy of Raine Crandall, image of the Old Man River, from a low perspective, rocks in the foreground, the river, then the hills of the coulee in the background, the sun shining with a few white clouds, taken with iPhone 15, December 27, 2023.

Photo courtesy of Raine Crandall, photo of Raine’s legs with fun bear socks, a new Christmas present, taken with iPhone 15, January 1, 2024.

Photo courtesy of Raine Crandall, photo of an unfinished needle punch work, trans and nature-inspired coloured yarn, placed in dried grass, in the coulees, taken with iPhone 8, March 1, 2021.

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