Last week, a 22-year-old up and coming jewelry designer by the name of Ashley Riggitano jumped to her death off the George Washington Bridge. Before she jumped, she was careful enough to leave her Louis Vuitton handbag behind with a list of who she didn’t want at her funeral. It was specifically five women, one of whom had told her back in January to, “Go try to kill yourself on Xanax again, you unstable loser. Go fuck yourself and never speak to me again.” Sounds like a lovely, compassionate person right there.
The pages of handwritten notes in her bag detailed the bullying that she had experienced from both college and work colleagues. But despite the specific uninviting of these five women, there was one person who had scorned her that she did want at the funeral: a man with whom – although authorities are unsure of exactly what had happened – Ashley had a relationship that had ended badly. In her notes, Riggitano remarked, upon the arrival of this man at her funeral that she hopes “he gets what he deserves when he gets there.”
Revenge suicide, or as it’s also called, manipulative suicide, is nothing new. Neither is the act of one hurting themselves as a mean to an “I’ll show you” type of conclusion. As the 20th century rolled around, it became more prevalent, with even high-profile families, like the Kennedys, experiencing it.
When Mary Richardson Kennedy hung herself last year, it was thought to be the final act of revenge against her husband whom she saw as a man who completely abandoned her and broke her heart. Her actions were selfish, as all suicides are, but when desperate rage is all you can see and feel, you are literally incapable of thinking clearly. You are on a warpath, and all that matters is the mentality, of “I’m going to do this, and you’re going to pay forever.” However, the person at whom the action is directed, is not going to pay forever. They’re going to get up every morning and live their lives while you do not, because you are permanently erased from the planet.
Revenge is a sign of hurt. Whether you stand outside someone’s window threatening to kill yourself or slash the tires of someone who wronged you, you are doing so because you’re so severely devastated that you’re blinded by animosity. Some people are able to deal with that hurt in positive ways, but others, those who are probably already suffer from a mental issue like depression, have a harder time moving forward. It’s as though they’re stunted, and the only way to even the playing field is make that person who hurt you, suffer just as you do. And although it may seem fitting in the moment, it never ends well, and the results can be far worse than the emotional burden you have experienced.
While I would neve condone advocating revenge in anyway — you know, besides outside a harmless little ad in the New York Times listing the name and number of those who wronged you — the most beautiful revenge of all is success. Complete and utter, large sparkly success. That’s where the best revenge lies.
You may think guilt lasts forever, but life moves on, people forget and your original intention loses its meaning eventually. But success leaves a lasting impression; that’s the stuff that someone who fucked you over can’t escape. That’s the way to really stick it to them all.