If I flip my left wrist up you can see a half-inch scar. Recently I was asked about that little white scar. Had it been done through self harm? Had I ever had thoughts of hurting myself?
How awkward must it have been to ask that question. I am sure I should be the one feeling awkward being asked if I had thoughts to hurt myself but honestly I just felt that it must be worse for the other person. Maybe that’s because the story of how I got it makes me laugh each time I look at the little thing.
My brother stabbed me with a fork. Yeah, a fork. Washing dishes and play fighting was probably a bad idea seeing as how I had a fork sticking out of my arm in the end.
I don’t even remember being mad, more shocked that my little twelve-year-old brother had stabbed me.
What had I ever done to him?
Okay, maybe I had blown salt in his eyes. But hey, before you judge me I really thought it was pixie dust and he might be able to fly. He was my guinea pig and I was figuring out the world around me. So salt and eye balls don’t mix, lesson learned.
Anyways, let’s go back to the self-harm thing. I said no, and I was being honest. I had never thought that picking up a knife and making an incision would be anything far from a cry for help from me.
The closet a young me came to feeling that was vicariously through the novel Willow by Julia Hoban. Seriously it is really sad. She basically killed her parents and cuts herself. The situation she gets in with a guy is a little intense and to be honest, looking back a bit creepy. But I ate it up as a teenager. I really loved Twilight when it came out and now I am not sure what I was think that story…well I could go into it but thats for another itme.
I then started to think about self-harm. Well, I thought about the definition. Had I really answered the question honestly? I had never wanted to physically harm myself but hadn’t I done other forms of damage.
Hadn’t I spent countless moments in front of a mirror telling myself negative things. Walked through a clothes store and felt like crying my eyes out because I wasn’t a size that TV said was acceptable. Picking up clothes in a smaller size and simply stating they looked bad that is why I didn’t come out of the dressing room.
Hadn’t I been proud of myself for accomplishing a workout goal only to start focusing on all the other things I still hated about myself? Putting on a nice smile on but inside feeling like I was never going to be okay, never going to be enough.
Hadn’t I spent part of my high school years feeling so bad about my body shape that I stopped eating enough and passed out at school. Hadn’t I spent moments at restaurants fighting the urge to order what I really wanted? Instead waiting to see what everyone else ordered. Espically my super stick thin friends. Logic stated taht if I ate why they did I would have to be as skinny as them. Body shape, gentics, metablism…not a real thing to a teenage girl.
In the kitchen, I fell in love with baking desserts, each time I made a new creation my brain would cut back to making the item and start counting how much butter; fat, sugar; fat, was in a dish. Thinking that if I just resisted that I wouldn’t be fat. How I would hate myself later in the mirror for tasting it and enjoying it. God forbid I enjoyed it. With each bite I could feel it turning into self hatred.
Because at the end of the day I hated the fat, awkward, lumpy, never going to be cool enough girl in the mirror.
Isn’t that self harm?
Of course, I still find that insecure little girl creeping up on me but I realized in college after I had dated this guy who was pretty emotionally damaging that I needed to love the girl in the mirror even on the days I hated her.
She was never going to be perfect or fit the 90201 mold. But she was going to grow into a pretty extraordinary girl.
To answer the question honestly, yes I have harmed my self. My scars are not visible by the eye. Much like everyone else they run deep and try to grab ahold of me. But unlike the little girl who felt self-conscious in her black and red trim bathing suit, or the teenager in high school who tried to starve herself, or the girl in college who let a guy control her world. When I look in the mirror I remind my self, forced or natural, that I love the girl on the other end. She has become someone I admire.
I make it sound easy, but it’s not. If you won’t do it for yourself then try it for me, the next time you look in the mirror tell yourself that no matter how you are feeling I love myself, I am extraordinary, I am enough.
Trust me I am right there next to you forcing the words out. And at moments I do start to believe myself.
And if you are like me, I am writing this in public, in a cute little cafe, then you might be crying or about to be and that’s okay. Because we love ourselves even when it’s too hard to say.