My Heart Breaks for Aaron Swartz


The above track by the French musician Yann Tiersen is the way I feel about life right now. Although I didn’t know Aaron personally, the stories and tributes that have come out after his death have haunted me. I feel that I understand him in a way I don’t understand everyone else around me. After I read Quinn Norton’s tribute to her best friend and former lover, my eyes filled with tears. The thought running through my head was, “That could be me.”

You see, I have also suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. It seems odd to give it a name, as it’s been an integral part of me. The same way I would call myself a writer, I call myself sad. Hello, I am sad. Bonjour, je suis triste. Like Aaron, I am not the stereotypical sad person who spends day and night confined to a bed or chained to a bottle of vodka. No, my drug of choice is: work.

I am never happy. Either I am too distracted to remember I’m sad (most of the time), or I am sad. The only thing that keeps me going in life is my work. Somehow, I believe that I have a purpose in this life. I must publish, I must feed the hungry, I must change lives. You might think this is egotistical of me, to think that I could be so influential. But you’re wrong. I need to believe in that purpose, because if I don’t pursue those goals, then why am I alive? Thus far, my 20 years have been filled with misery. Attack upon attack of my sensitive soul. To know that I would be born into this existence, I would have chosen death before it all.

Like Aaron, I am an idealist. Every time I hear of the atrocities in the news (since when has the USA and school shootings become synonymous?), my heart bleeds. Like him, I hate the system. Fuck this elitist, faceless mass that would drive someone like Adam to his grave. Perhaps this world doesn’t have a place for a voice like his, like mine. As for now, though, I will continue to believe. Until the day I am convinced that everything I’ve worked for has betrayed me, I will keep fighting.

Image via Quinn Norton.

Rest in peace, Aaron.


4 thoughts on “My Heart Breaks for Aaron Swartz

  1. The most beautiful pieces of art have often been composed/made/written by sad, depressed, insane and or psychopath artists 🙂

    And why are you alive? To have children so the species can perpetrate 😉

    I think there are nothing wrong with being sad, especially if you keep improving yourself and that it doesn’t prevent you from being busy and to aim and approach your goals !

    Hang on 😉

    • But those tortured artists end up 1) in a psych institution or 2) dead by suicide…

      Haha I’m sure the human species will survive even if I don’t procreate.

      Thanks Fabrice for your encouragement. 🙂

  2. You don’t sound sad, Rebecca. You should read what some other bloggers are writing about. Now, that is sad.

    You’re just very sensitive. I think everyone gets sad, me too. The others just don’t get to write about it.

    Cheers !

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