I am staring at the scissors in my hands and I am shaking. I am twelve and I don’t know that I can simply take the screen out of the window. I assume that I have to cut it away. I assume that even ending my pain will be difficult. I assume that I cannot do anything today without struggle. However, I am simply allotted more time to think through this moment.
I am shaking and crying, and I recognize that this is the moment when adults would advise me to call a suicide hotline or speak to a parent. I can’t do either. I don’t want to do either. I don’t want anyone to convince me otherwise. So I sit on the floor below my window sill and I hold the scissors in front of me like I am passing them to someone else; because, I don’t really want to die, I just don’t want to live, either.
In that moment, I didn’t know that I would decide to continue. In that moment, I didn’t know that I would decide to keep living and breathing and laughing and talking and making connections and breaking them and crying over them and wanting to die again later. I didn’t know that life would go on but at an alarming speed until I was bored. I didn’t know that the mornings I woke up feeling energized would be the mornings that everyone would suck the energy right out of me. I didn’t know that eating breakfast in the morning would hurt because suddenly, I wasn’t in control anymore, my hunger was.
I didn’t know that I would one day love someone enough to give birth to their baby nine months later, and I didn’t know that it would all go so poorly. I didn’t know that I would fight my own demons the way I fight with friends, I don’t. I didn’t know that I would be stopping on the side of a highway just to take a deep breath, or try to, at least; because, suddenly, I thought of a thought that I knew would make me upset, but I thought it anyways.
I didn’t know that I would be so terrified of love, but more terrified of being alone, so I’d chase it enough to be able to reject everyone else’s advances. I didn’t know that friends would feel so isolating. I didn’t know that family would feel so cold. I didn’t know that the damn suicide hotline lady would have such an attitude. I didn’t know that people could be so unsympathetic.
Back then I didn’t know that mirrors would be a bigger enemy to me than the skeletons in my closet, which is to say they were the same thing. I didn’t know that instead of lifting weights and eating healthy, I would simply stare in the mirror on an empty stomach, watching the fat fall away with the help of diet pills that had no business being in my system.
I didn’t know that instead of tattoos, I’d be getting scars on my arms like sleeves. I didn’t know that makeup would be so expensive. Better yet, I didn’t know that covering the stories on my arms would be so difficult. I didn’t know that people would be so curious to know about the reasons behind your mascara stains. I didn’t know that “I’m tired” would be a valid excuse for almost anything when you didn’t want to talk.
Back then, I didn’t know that I would get more excited about sneaking sleeping pills into a theater than food. I didn’t know that to sleep, I would need to blackout, but that experience is the first time I was ever taken advantage of. And they say that everyone makes it through somehow, but somehow, I’m still trying to end it all again like I’m twelve.
I didn’t know back then that I would put the scissors down only to lift the knife to stab my own back with it daily. I didn’t know that I would wake up only long enough to yell profanities in the mirror. I didn’t know that I would be okay as long as people reminded me why I shouldn’t be.
I didn’t know that
But right now, right here, today, I know that my scars are a story and my body is not a trash bin that fills up and looks better when it’s empty. I know that mind is not the enemy and my heart is perfectly okay. I know that I will be okay.
Today, I put the scissors down. I lowered my voice and stepped away from the mirrors.
Today, I gave myself another chance. Today, I hope you will too.
Nadya was adopted from Russia when she was eight and has struggled with depression and anxiety ever since. She has developed a passion for writing about these topics in her blog, “Where Is Hope” in the hopes of reaching someone else who may be struggling with the same things. Today, she is an aspiring author and poet, aiming every day to perfect her coffee brewing skills.