It wasn’t easy growing up being known as the girl who “cut herself.” Many people didn’t know why I did it. They just thought I had nothing better to do than to inflict pain on myself. That’s the thing, though, causing myself pain was what mixed joy into my dark emotions and that was my only way out to freedom. I was a 13 year old girl who depended on suicidal music and poetry, who also wanted nothing to do with the world around me. I secluded myself from happiness because I was no where near that. I was sad, depressed, anxious to know where my life was headed. The pitch black road ahead of me seemed like my personal destination and I was headed that way, full speed.
What could I have possibly been so worked up about? Was it the fact that I had no friends because of the way I carried myself? Wearing long sleeves under the golden, hot sun was always my go to. I wasn’t ready to reveal my scars. I was so anxious to know what people thought about me but when I caught up with the weekly gossip in school and realized I was the center of attention, I spiraled into a deeper depression. I wanted to be accepted so badly, by anyone. But at the same time I just wanted to run far away from the madness. I could no longer handle the side-looks and whispers when I walked down the hall. I was tired of being the one who was judged for blinking at the wrong time. When would it be my turn to fit in?
One, Two, Three
While I sat through pointless lectures, all I could do was think about the release waiting for me at home. If I had a bad day at school, the ritual I followed instantly sent me into better spirits. As usual, I walked through my front door and greeted my mother, “great day at school, ma.” A smile would be returned. But in reality, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that I was not okay. I just wanted someone to know without me having to beg them to listen. So that’s why I had this ritual. My room door locked behind me and I proceeded to my closet, my fathers army jacket hanged so nicely by itself in the far right corner, with pockets so wide and empty… except for one. I’d reached in and pressed my fingertip down as hard as I could. One, two, three; the three corners of the piece of glass I kept for safety. Why this so safe to have in my possession? Because when no one listened to me, this thick piece of freedom always answered my call. All I had to do was press hard enough into my skin that little drops of blood made its presence. It felt good, and I felt amazing. My chest no longer had the weight of an elephant holding back my air. I was finally in a good place.
When I cut myself, I called it freedom because I was no longer being held back by the restraints of life. The pressures of my friends, school work and family all filled my mind with the bullshit stress that I just couldn’t deal with anymore. I continued to cut for a couple of years and no one knew my secret. Those three corners stayed in that pocket day in and day out and I never worried it would go missing. It was the only friend I had, the only freedom available to keep me sane. Eventually, the cuts became smaller and less painful. Sometimes all I needed was to feel the glass within my palm and I felt better. It wasn’t that I wasn’t depressed anymore, I just grew out of the “I deserve to feel pain” stage and leaned more toward writing my feelings down. And that’s where I am now; writing about my deepest, darkest secrets that I never thought I would share with anyone. Can you relate?
So you may ask yourself, what exactly was it that sent me into hell and back a couple of times? It was everything. It was being a bullied teenager who’s parents had an ugly divorce, to letting my suicidal poetry almost come to life, to therapists trying to break my shell, to loads and loads of shit that would happen in the upcoming years of my life. I always asked myself, why me? Why did I deserve so much heartbreak? But then I remembered that nothing would’ve been thrown at me that I couldn’t handle. I was born to prove to the world how strong I was, and still am today. I stand tall above the rest because of what I went through. I am a diamond in a handful of cloudy jewels. I am the sun that breaks through the clouds. I am, ME.
Move on. Smile.
The most important thing you can do if you are struggling or have before, is to not be ashamed of how your life turned out. Do not blame yourself. Do not turn away from the scars that kept your suicidal note a lie. Let the difficult moments and memories be why you are here today. I stand proud of the horrid details that have kept me alive, and I never let my shoulders down. My head is always held high because I was meant to be here, to be a survivor, a mother, a person who will help you make it into tomorrow. So roll those sleeves up and let those scars shimmer in the sun. Smile proudly and say to yourself, I’ve moved on. Yes, you have struggled and there may be more to come. But you can still call yourself a survivor.
And a survivor, you will always be.
Image credit: Janine
My name is Courtney. I’m a 24 year old proud mama of a beautiful daughter, and soon to be son. I have always invested myself into my writing, and I hope it captures you into a place you’ve never been before. You may find more of my writing at Unfiltered Mama.