Moving On

The first cut is always the deepest.  The first cut always hurts the most. But then the second and third cuts come, and after a while, you become addicted. You become addicted to the release it brings. For one minute during your day you feel something. You are allowed to feel something.

And then it’s not just days; it’s months, it’s years of this daily release. Then one day, you hit your lowest point. Your skin is not skin anymore. After years of being bloody from fighting daily battles, it’s become a puzzle to be put back together. It’s become a battlefield marked with the gravestones of those lost. It’s become a maze or a timeline; traceable lines mark the path you’ve walked, how far you’ve traveled.

One day you trace the scars that you’re so eager to hide from judging eyes, because you don’t know how to explain to people that you’re not trying to kill yourself; you’re trying to stay alive:

How have I made it this far? I’m stronger than I think I am.

How did I get here? I’m left looking back on things I’d much rather forget.

Where do I go from here? I have no idea.

I have no idea.

But I’m taking it one day at a time. Because when you didn’t think you’d make it this far, planning the future and looking too far ahead is terrifyingly intimidating. Life is stressful. You take it one day at a time so you don’t forget to breathe.

Through all this, you have to learn how to move on with your life. I’m learning how to move on. I’m learning how to make it through the day. I’m learning that God loves me despite it all. I’m learning that even at my worst my friends are there to fall back on.

I’m learning how to love myself again, which is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s so easy to compare yourself to everyone else. And this game you play, you lose every time, which destroys your self-image. So you have to undo all the damage done—years of losses has left your Self-image so badly damaged there’s no choice but to tear it down and rebuild it from the bottom.

This rebuilding is a process. It’s looking in the mirror and telling yourself you’re beautiful even when you don’t believe it. It’s telling yourself that you are worth something when you’re entire being is telling you that you’re better off dead. It’s learning how to block out the voices of those who once hurt you (not that the memories won’t hurt, because they will. But that’s ok. You’re alive).

And it’s so much more. It’s learning to ignore the people who judge you. It’s learning to ignore the people looking at you, whispering about you as if you can’t see them. It’s learning how to cope, how to deal with the thoughts that can destroy you. It’s learning how to let the feelings out in healthy ways (even if it’s crying at Youth Group). It’s learning that it’s ok that big groups make you uncomfortable, that you are always on the verge of a mental breakdown. The people who matter won’t love you any less.

It’s learning that this is a Mental Illness; the feelings won’t go away, but they’ll be like waves. It’s learning how to make the most of them.

It’s learning that you are worth being loved. It’s allowing yourself to be loved and valued when the right person comes along.

It’s learning to say look how far I’ve come. Look at what you did to me, but look what I’ve done with my life. Look at me prove you wrong.

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I Survived; I’m Free!

A letter:

We were in 8th grade when “the incident” occurred. You were guys; so to you it was probably all in fun, a game of sorts. But to me, it was pain. My feelings were involved—I had liked you all at some point, and you knew that. That didn’t stop you. That doesn’t matter. You did a serious number on my self-esteem.

My trust: shattered. Like a glass hitting a concrete floor from 50 feet in the air.

My self-esteem: crushed.Like a boulder rolling over an ant.

Your words are super-glued to the inside of my brain. Like a tape they are on repeat, never to be forgotten, just turned down. Your actions are like a bad movie being replayed over and over again. Although, sometimes, the screen is turned off, granting me a brief reprieve.

Because of you, I learned that there is pain. Because of you, I learned not to trust. Because of you, I learned how to build walls. Because of you, I fell straight down—fast and hard.

But…

Because of you, I learned that there is beauty in pain. Because of you, I learned that trust should be earned. Because of you, I learned how to tear down walls. Because of you, I started fighting for my footing.

I’m stronger than I seemed to you, apparently, because I fought for my right to be here. Even when the odds were not in my favor, I fought—my strength coming from those around me, and coming from somewhere deep within me. I do matter. I do have value.

Albert Camus once said, “But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”

It’s true, you know. It would have been easier to give up; it would have been easier to just do what you said. But, that would be akin to me admitting defeat, which is not something I do easily. I prefer winning and coming out victorious. So I fought. And I fought hard. Even when the air was knocked out of my lungs again and again, I got up screaming through the pain, determined to prove you wrong. Because, let’s face it. I’m a girl; therefore, I’m always right.

I’m not angry anymore. I’ve grown up. I’ve moved on. I’ve forgiven. And now, I’m saying goodbye to you, to the bitterness, to the sorrow. I’m letting go. I’m free.

A lot can happen in 4 years; you grow up, you mature, you start seeing things differently. 4 years ago, I was a lot different than I am now—I was shy, I was quiet, I was broken. 4 years ago, I had my innocence ripped from me in a matter of minutes. All it took was minutes, and I’ve spent the last 4 years healing. I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to get the images of what they did out my mind; I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to get the words they said out of my head: “You’ll never amount to anything. You won’t succeed. You’re worth nothing.”

Nothing took the pain away more than cutting. So, that’s what I did. Multiple times a day, every day for two years. The wounds have faded now, but the scars are still there. The words they said don’t have as much of an impact anymore, but sometimes they come back loud, and I have to resist the urge to pick up that razor.

A lot can happen in 4 years. I entered Freshman year as quiet and insecure. I ended Senior Year as loud, and sometimes obnoxious, sometimes confident, but mostly insecure. I’m still broken, but I’ve seen beauty come from my brokenness. I’m beginning to see healing that is coming from the rain. After 4 years I’ve proved them wrong.

I SURVIVED! I’M FREE!