I have never been the one to bring blind optimism into any situation. I mean, I’ve always believed in hope, and having faith, but never that everything will work out exactly how I want. Frankly, the world doesn’t work that way, and I knew this even as a young child.
My parents used to tell me that I’ve always seemed so wise. People would tell them they saw ages of knowledge in my eyes and to research the Indigo Children. I never disagreed with them. You see, I always felt too old when I was around kids my age. I’m not saying I was superior or better than them in anyway, but I just seemed to have different things on my mind. I think that’s what made me out to be a shy kid. People thought I was too scared to speak, and too young to understand enough to converse with adults. In truth, I was just thinking a million things at a time, and could never figure out which question I wanted to ask first, or which answer I would allow someone to receive.
The first time I can remember not fully understanding something was when I was probably about nine years old. I came home from school to find my family all talking in the living room. As I walked in, it was like something out of a movie. Everyone stopped talking, and just stared at me. I of course hate being stared at, so I spat out a sassy: “What?” In response, my parents looked at each other as if to say, “You tell her”, and my three siblings avoided all eye contact with me. I’d never felt more intimidating than I did in that moment. All I was told was that my aunt, who had been living with us, would be going away for…sometime. I also happen to hate mysteries and vague answers, so I demanded to know why. Turns out, she tried to commit suicide while living in my house, in what used to be my room. To this day I don’t know how, but I assume pills because my family has always favored the magic of prescription medication. However, when I found out, the how was not what I was worried about. It was the why. Why would someone ever want to kill them self? In my mind, the act seemed silly. I mean we were put on this earth so why would we want to ever leave it? And honestly, Death scared me, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the notion of willingly meeting her. But that was then, not now.
You could say I was a generally happy kid. This was despite my parents fighting, and my siblings not being entirely too fond of me (perks of being the youngest, I suppose). I like to think that while I was not naive, I did try to find whatever light I could, wherever I could. I tell myself this is why it took my parents years to notice something was wrong. I tell myself that they only wanted to believe that I was okay, and they were doing everything they could for me, so that’s why they never noticed the cuts and scratches all over their twelve year old daughter.
I remember the first time I cut myself was because my brother had said another horrible something to me and I was just crying. I was so tired of crying, though. I wanted to feel something; something besides hot tears rolling down my face and a pounding headache. So, I took my mom’s black and yellow “bumblebee” craft scissors, and went to town on my know-healed ankles. I remember smiling after the first cut. I had been so scared and even thought to myself, “Are you really doing this? Are you really going to be this person?” Cause and effect had the cynical side of me feeling proud once I finally did it. Of what, I’m still not sure, but I felt elevated-better even. It was so weird to me that something that caused me pain was simultaneously making everything in my hazy world seem brighter. I never thought that I would continue though, because I told myself I was better than that; better than someone who, yikes, cut them self. I guess I failed to realize the release was only temporary, and I was not as strong as I thought I was.
The rest of my middle school career I carried around those black and yellow scissors. I’d tuck them away in my pencil bag, or my new UGG boots, as if it was a hidden accessory. A part of me loved having this secret, even if another part of me knew that what I as doing was far from okay.
Eighth grade was extremely bad. I’m not sure what triggered the chain of events, but eventually it led to something I like to call “Even More Twisted Than The Pregnancy Pact”. Every one of my girl friends seemed to be so sad, and hurting, and I didn’t understand. Eventually, they started doing what I did. I would soon come to think it was my fault for giving them the idea, as if I was some sort of trendsetter. Because of this, I tried to help them. In reality, all I succeeded in doing was feeding off of their issues, making everything worse. And as much as I tried to help my friends because I cared, I also resented them. I no longer was the only one in on my secret. What I did didn’t make me any different from anyone else, and I still had all of these bottled up problems, so what was the point? In my mind, there was none at all, to anything.
That year, I watched as multiple friends of mine got carted off to therapy by their parents (with the aid of good-intentioned teachers), and given happy medicine. Meanwhile, my mom still hadn’t noticed her bumblebee scissors were missing.
When high school began, the way things were didn’t exactly change for the better. I lost my two closest friends; not to death, just girl drama, so that didn’t help my situation. At that point, I already thought so poorly of myself. Having people who were meant to always love me and be there for me, tell me everything I already thought was true about myself, was completely devastating. I’m not perfect, but I always tried to be a good friend. Being older, I realize I could have been a nicer person and friend; still could be, but I’m working on that. I’m not a very tolerant person and often snap at people because of what I now know to be sensory over-load, via my therapist (shout out to Dr. G). But at the time, I just saw a terrible person taking out her problems on those who didn’t deserve it, and it ruined me.
I can’t tell you how much time I spent in the years to follow sitting in my room crying. Always at night; and always because of something small that would ultimately lead to me seeing myself as a completely unworthy person. Of what, you may ask? Life, I guess. I would constantly ask, no beg, a god that I had begun losing faith in, to end it. I used to think I was put on this earth to help people, but I only seemed to be making lives harder. I wanted God to take me back. Take me back so the people in my life could be happier, and I would no longer have to feel because everyone knows that angels don’t feel.
Needless to say, God never fulfilled my wishes, no matter how many times I asked him too. I think that’s why I never ended it myself. Either I’m too much of a coward, or I realized that since lightening hasn’t struck down on me, I must still have some type of purpose on this earth. So I’m still going, and still trying to live, no matter how much I sometimes, rather selfishly, despise that my lungs work on their own, and I don’t have cancer cells spreading throughout my body.
I’d love to tell you that eventually “it got better”, and that now I’m sitting here writing to you because everything in my life is finally working out. Like I said, I’d love to tell you that, but I try not to lie (about the important things at least). No, sadly, I’m writing this within the confines of my safe-haven, or bedroom, while sad music plays in the background and I contemplate picking up my newfound razor friend. But, I’m happy to report that it’s easier to tell that razor to fuck off now. I’ve learned that my thoughts can’t control my actions. That I can’t keep hurting myself just because it’s the only way I will feel something other than sadness, or just complete numbness. I’m also truly driven by the completely narcissistic belief that my two best friends wouldn’t be able to live without me-or at least not yet. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m driven by what I hate to admit, is my own will to live. For whatever reason, I’ve been blessed by a life on earth, surrounded by friends and a less-than-perfect family. While I am definitely not okay yet, I have accepted that. I’ve accepted my life here, and that I should do everything I can to make the thing that I’ve begrudgingly realized is not fleeting, something I want. Besides all of that, I never want my niece, my baby, to ask her mother where her aunt went. So, because of this, I will continue to take the life I’ve been given in stride. I will try to make sure that I make God giving me this chance to live worth it. So, while I have not officially said goodbye to my ways of self-harm, or thoughts of leaving this world, I will not take myself out of it. I think that’s all anyone can ask of me at this point, and I think that’s all I can ask of anyone else. I found the small and big “some things” that have made life bearable for me; and I think that if I can, almost anyone else can too. I won’t promise that it will work, even though I will pray and hope that it does. I’m just asking that everyone do the one little thing that took me so long to: try.
Lover of words and books, but too scared to do anything with that love.
Gabs can be found on Twitter.