Pain Is Better Than Nothing

Photo by Thiago Matos on

I was 13 the first time I cut my wrists.  Until I typed these words, I could count the number of people who know this on one hand.  Looking back I see the drama of it all and I recognize it as a poor coping mechanism.  But the events that brought me to that point were all too real and painful to my adolescent brain and I lashed out at myself because I had no other visible or viable outlet at that time.

I fear sharing this story because I hid it for so long that I became protective of it; it’s my story and it was something I had complete control of in my life.  I didn’t want anyone to interfere or tell me that the way I felt was wrong.  The emotions of early teens are complicated enough and I was tired of having them dismissed.  I felt like everything I was going through was ignored or downplayed because the people in my life were also going through things.  Or maybe I kept what I was really going through quiet because I thought their issues took precedence over mine.

My siblings are older than me by quite a bit—the closest one to me is eight years older, then ten years older, then fourteen years older. So in my early teens they were all knee deep in the throws of adult life, and life was not easy for them.  I chose to keep quiet about myself because how could the challenges a 13 year old faces compare to the real life shit of an adult?  I had convinced my brain that I didn’t need to bring any more “stuff” to the house.  So I took care of it myself. 

For me that started prior to 13 as many of my perfectionist tendencies really began to solidify early in school.  I’ve always had an independent streak (fine, stubborn) that inclined me to do it myself.  Couple that with large age gaps in the home and it’s a recipe for a child to struggle to keep up and prove were they fit in.  And that is exactly where I was at.  I started trying to prove myself early in so many ways.  I wanted to be right and I wanted people to know that I knew what I was talking about.  In reality, I think I just wanted to be accepted.  But because of the age gaps, I didn’t have that closeness to my siblings as a child and because I was a neurotic know-it-all mess, I didn’t really have many friends.  Don’t get me wrong, my siblings and I actually all got along fairly well but we butted heads a lot.  And I did have a small group of friends that, in hindsight, I simply wanted to take charge of.  I could talk to people but I couldn’t get close to them.  I spent a lot of time alone or giving homework answers to other kids only to be ignored again the next day.

So, being lonely, feeling out of control, having the need for perfection, and seeking approval, attention, and an acknowledgement of my accomplishments created the perfect storm of self-loathing and hatred in a hormonal teenager.  That’s how it started.

I can’t remember the exact final trigger, but I remember walking home from school that day and knowing that I was going to cut myself.  I remember the feeling of frustration I felt and knowing I had to get it out of me.  When I got home, I walked into the basement and took a razor off of my dad’s work bench.  I went up to my room and grabbed a clean towel from my closet and turned on some music.  It was completely melodramatic but it spoke to me at the time.  I knelt on the floor and spread the towel over my legs and pressed the razor into my wrist.  It felt like time stopped.  I didn’t hear the music anymore and nothing and no one was around to stop me.  I drew back the blade.

The instant I saw the thin line of blood well up on my wrist, it felt like a gigantic exhale from my body.  Everything I had been holding onto completely went away.  I cut again.  And again.  And again.  Then I switched wrists.  I eventually lost count of how many times I cut that day.  But when it was over, I felt lighter than I had in years.

It took over a decade for me to stop hurting myself in that fashion. There are more pieces to this story, but I want anyone reading my work to know that I have been to the lowest of the low.  The journey to self-love and self-acceptance is NOT an easy one.  However, if someone can come from hating themselves so much that they would draw their own blood for fun and still learn the importance of their being, then anyone can. 

When I speak about the importance of learning to hear intuition and connecting with spirit, I am speaking an entirely different level of truth.  Some days are easier than others, but that is the forefront of my work; learning to make peace with your truth is key.  Learning your worth, your purpose and expressing it is a goal I have for everyone.  Trust me, no matter how bad it seems, there is always a way to the light.  The secret is that the light is each of us all the time—we just have to learn to access it.                

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