The Trip that Changed Me

It’s been 3.5 years since I tried to kill myself. And when people ask me how I’m doing, I have no idea if they want a truthful answer or the “I’m fine” answer. Truth be told, I have no idea how I’m doing. Because it all comes in waves–feelings, flashbacks, and inner battles continue day in and day out: high tide and low tide. And sometimes everything is so overwhelming, I feel like I’m drowning, and I can’t get out of bed. But I can’t sleep either, because when I close my eyes, there’s darkness, and darkness is where the monsters live. And I stopped looking for monsters under my bed a long time ago when I realized they were inside of me.

I’ve been told I have a good memory, but it’s a blessing and a curse, because I can recall every word spoken to me, every unwanted touch forced upon me. It’s in these moments when I wonder if this is all life has to offer me. It’s in these moments when I wonder if the world would be better off without me. Because I was told once, 5 years ago, no one could love a broken girl, and sometimes in my moments of pain, anguish and despair, I believe these words to be true. When your 13 almost 14 and someone tells you these things, you’re going to believe them. And in the moments when hope seems lost, I’m 13 almost 14 again, and in my darkest moments, I’m 15 and ready to end it all.

And sometimes I used to list the ways I wasn’t beautiful on my skin as I cut myself open with the razor of hate and carved all the names I’ve been called into my skin. And sometimes I used to skip meals for weeks on end, wondering to myself “Am I beautiful now?” Sometimes I still wonder if I’m too broken to be beautiful. Sometimes I wonder if my scares make me ugly. Then I look at my wrist and see the scar from the night of what I thought was my last fight, and all I see is strength. So I fight this battle everyday, because I’ve seen the valleys and I’ve seen the heights, and out of brokenness comes beauty.

And all I ever wanted to be was beautiful.

And I know rain can wash things clean if you just let it. So sometimes I find myself wishing for a hurricane, because I need to start again. And I find myself rejoicing in the small victories, because with each one I find myself a little closer to healing. When this hurricane of healing comes, when I become this hollowed out structure of a building that is no longer standing, I will rebuild. Because with re-birth and rebuilding comes beauty.

I will be beautiful again.

I wrote this particular poem while I was in Guatemala after seeing a man that resembled one of my attackers. And it’s amazing how God works, because the week before I left, I found my suicide note (you can read that story here).
And before I left, I was just hoping I would find healing, which I did, and that’s a great story (the full version can be read here).

But to sum it up: God worked in my life as I was working in other people’s lives. When we went to serve dinner at the dump, I climbed on top of the bus and saw the mountains behind the dump. I was reminded of how great our God is. I was reminded of how beauty can grow alongside brokenness and how out of brokenness can come beauty. And in that instant, I felt a huge weight come off my shoulders: I could breathe easily again.

But the most healing came when I went to the roof of a mall. Because normally when I get to high places, I have the overwhelming urge to jump, but this time, I didn’t. Instantly, I felt this sense of calmness; I felt this wave of healing come over me, and it was beautiful.

I went to Guatemala broken and trying to heal. I went to Guatemala not at all convinced of my beauty. I came back from Guatemala a changed person. I was healed (not completely, but enough). I am satisfied with who I am. I know God will use my story to help others. I have found my beauty, and I’ve never been prouder of who I am.

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