Last night, a girl named Milly Dionne killed herself. I’d never spoken to her, but she knew a lot of the people I know online. When I saw the post that she had passed away — and I’d just woken up, sitting under a fluorescent light, mid-fast, tired — my initial reaction was an eerie sensation that of course this was going to happen. It seemed unlikely that with all these sad, thin, glamorous lonely girls on the Internet, in alt lit, that they would all make it to adulthood. She was only 17. She wrote in her suicide note (on Tumblr) (she was seventeen) that she wanted to be a cold dead body — she will not feel this feeling, she did not feel that feeling. She had no way of knowing that she would not feel a peaceful calm. Because she was 17. She had no reason to know the actual finality of death, being, that there would be a moment where her organs would stop, and she would not be, her bowels would evacuate, her muscles would stiffen. She was 17.
I’ve heard of people who she attempted to contact last night, and of the someone who she successfully contacted. I know how one of those people is feeling. I do not know how the others feel.
The thing that is so strange-but-not is how hard it is to feel anything about this. No one I know met this girl in real life, had any contact with her beyond the Internet. They did what we all do, consciously or not — dissociated themselves from this person they were messaging, removing the actual, outside-world idea of a person from the small avatar, the face on tinychat, the blog post.
I hope this not become a great, romantic tragedy. I hope other girls do not kill themselves because of how pretty Milly looks in her Facebook profile pictures. I hope other girls learn that you don’t get to play Tom Sawyer in the rafters at your funeral. I hope people try to remember that there is more to depression than a sense of bleak ennui or a citalopram prescription.
She was 17.