I was only fifteen when I resorted to pain for a release. I fell into a fad group known as “emo”, before I even knew it stood for emotional. Between dealing with the death of a loved of, the divorce of my parents, and being alone, I knew I was drowning. Cutting was my way out; it was my escape, and when I think about it now, I had no reason to do it. I see my scars as a constant reminder of what I’ve lived through, and how I’ve gotten this far. I will never forget the looks I got from my family and friends, or how their small talk hurt. I will, however, be forever trying to keep my head above water.
I was sitting in my English I class, freshman year, with a bunch of friends, minding my own business. We of course were doing nothing, only the cool kids failed classes and didn’t care about it. We were all talking, having a good time. The sting running up my arms never really bothered me. This hot day, I decided to wear long sleeved shirt and sweater, both black of course. I rolled up my sleeves nonchalantly, no concern or worries. That’s when my friends of eight years noticed the cuts. The cuts ran up and down my arms, side to side. No one knew until that day.
I was called to the counselor’s office about a week later. She said my friends are worried about me. Worried about me? They didn’t notice I existed; I didn’t make a mark in their lives. She asked to see my cuts; of course, I refused. She called my mother that day. I could hear the disappointment dripping off her tongue. I was sent back to class; the rest of the day was a breeze. I went to my room immediately after steeping into my house. I didn’t want to see anyone. I didn’t want to “talk.” Later, when my mom got home from work, she asked me “Why’d you do it?” and “Promise me you won’t do it again.”
I now see her “disappointment” was guilt and worry. My friends were really trying to help, and I was blinded by selfishness. I quit the cutting for a while, and then it started again. I struggled with pain, dealing with relationships, being depressed and alone. I can’t regret any of those cuts. They got me here today, but I can regret what I put my loved ones through. They were my lighthouse, my safety net in the distance. I was the one learning how to doggie paddle in the ocean. I jumped in over my head.
I believe in not drowning, I believe in keeping your head about the water…realize what you truly have and keep struggling to breathe. This is what I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.