Part 5 - Self-Harm & Contemplation of Suicide
At some point after moving into the back of the health food store I ran, I started indulging in self-harm. Yes, “Indulging” is a strange choice of word, though the truth is my friends, I enjoyed it. The pain I was fighting inside me, was too much for a 15-year-old to bear. The hatred I had for myself, intense. I believed I deserved some form of punishment for my choice in aborting my own baby, for breathing everyday when an innocent life couldn’t.
I opened a lot of boxes at the store each week from shipments, I carried a box cutter with me daily in my pocket for easy access. I had a spark of thought one night as emotions were overpowering. I slid the blade across my leg lightly. It left a red line that stung, something not much more than a deep paper cut. As I stared at my leg and focused on the irritation, I did it again, and again, and again.
Even as an uneducated teen, I was always a deep thinker. I sold creams in the store for stretch marks and scars. I had carried on many conversations with older women who were less than satisfied with their bodies, making me fully aware of the aging process and self confidence in the average woman. I never had much confidence, and therefore knew I didn’t need any extra help feeling bad about my appearance. I was careful in my choice to self-harm because of this. I never inflicted deep cuts that would leave obvious scarring. If you were to look at my legs today, you’d really have to know what you were looking for to notice the few light lines still present. I only cut on my legs and wore pants to ensure customers and friends would be spared knowledge of my action. I mostly ran the blade over my legs, until each area was covered in red stripes. I carved words into my calves once, I can barely make out a, “Y” left today. The endorphins that would course through my body each night as I engaged in this were intoxicating, it was an exhilarating high, that I came to enjoy. It became an addiction, and as each cut would heal and leave barely a mark, I failed to see a reason to stop.
I met my first fiancé when I was 16. I had been engaging in self-harm for a time by this point. He and I dated for almost a year, it wasn’t long after the start of our relationship he asked me to marry him. He was aware of my cutting, and expressed on occasion that he desired me to quit. I cut less with him around. I was working a lot, we did drugs together, drank, partied with friends. There were a lot of things keeping me busy and distracted. Though I still found a blade in my hand occasionally. Toward the end of that year, he asked to partake in my routine with me. A strange request I felt, but being young and in-love, and ignorant, I agreed. (There’s a difference in ignorance and stupidity, ignorance can be educated. I was never stupid, despite a lack of education. I was however, very ignorant, and life taught me the hard way.)
He slid the box cutter blade out….. I would guesstimate a half inch. Without warning he slammed it into my right upper thigh, and ripped it down my leg, roughly five inches. It startled me, I held my breath as he pulled it out and slammed it in a second time. His second cut only a couple inches in length before I grabbed his hand. These are the only two alarming scars, I carry today. They were in need of stitches, I was unaware of how to care for such a wound properly. I had never cut myself deep like this before, nor had I any experience in seeing an injury that needed medical attention. I didn’t think it would ever stop bleeding. Upon waking the next morning, it had developed a scab, which in my ignorant mind, meant it was fine. I pulled on a pair of jeans, and went on to work. My best friend at this time, is my sister today. I saw her regularly, she was not a fan of my fiancé and his free-loading nature. My leg busted open and completely soaked my jean leg in a matter of seconds. Immediately noticing this, she inquired about it with alarm. I tried to lie, and another friend helped her hold me down and examine the source. She hated him from this moment forward.
He later told me it was a means of making me stop cutting myself. In his defense, I never cut myself again after that. However, I also never looked at him the same either. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea, that a man who loved me, could do that. I ended the relationship and was later made privy to his indiscretions. It was a venomous kiss from the start, something to be seen, though I was too naïve and desperate for affection.
I never attempted suicide in a serious manner. I contemplated it on multiple occasions. I slid the blade across my wrist once, leaving multiple lines. I used to take every vehicle I owned out to airport road, which was a long straight stretch, and I would test the top out speed. I took a handful of pills on a couple occasions, though my tolerance was ridiculous at this point and I knew it. You see, I wished I had the courage to commit suicide. They were never more than thoughts though, I pushed the limit a few times, but never with the actual intention of succeeding. I wanted to ignore God, I wanted to believe He wasn’t there, but I couldn’t. My fear of damnation, trumped all misery of this world, which disabled me from ending a life I felt was too hard. While I never attempted suicide, I think of those who do and those who have succeeded. My heart aches for them. I think of all the beautiful experiences I’ve been gifted in my adult life, and how I wouldn’t have ever known how amazing life can be, had I acted upon a hopeless feeling all those years ago. Life can be hard and painful, perseverance not an easy choice, but it is worth it.
Coming soon – “Stupid is as Stupid Does”
P.S. I’ve been on vacation now for almost three weeks! My husband and I took our babies for our second family vacation on a Disney Bahamas cruise, we created the most everlasting memories. Shortly after our return, I took the babies with me to our home town for a wedding and family reunion. I apologize for the long lapse in completion of this blog series. We got back home Sat and I am pondering lots of writing. I have many stories from our trip, the last few pieces to complete this series, and of course poems. I have already written my conclusion, and will start the last piece today, I should have it all uploaded by the end of the week. If you follow my social media, be warned, I’m about to blow your feed up!