This morning, while sitting on the porch, enjoying my normal cup of joe, and basking in the lovely sun we all-too-rarely see in Pittsburgh, I noticed something on my arm. Tiny white lines ran like horizontally like ancient rivers across my left wrist. They were the marks left by a foreign, sharp object. I tried to remember what it was, what object it was that did this to my skin. Then, I realized that I wasn’t curious about what, but as to who did this. It couldn’t have been me, why would I damage my own being, why would I carve into my skin as if it had no importance like bones left to dry. In fact, I know it wasn’t me. It was the person I used to be. It was a ghost of myself, a vignette inflicted by unyielding demons - but only in retrospect can I see “unyielding” was not my destiny, it was merely a thought. Because - recovery was in the realm of possibility, even when I couldn’t see it, even when it seemed my life was a failure, even when I felt I had been forgotten, and even when my future seemed bleak, and I would go nowhere. These marks became more common the closer I got to rock bottom. At the time, I believed I deserved it, and I had no reservations about ruining a canvas that would soon be 6 feet under our earth’s crust. It was only a matter of time before a grand finale of recklessness, depression, and chaos would convince me to sign away my life for good. The pen in my hand was a bottle of Benadryl, and I had committed myself to a fatal overdose. This was the final cure to my existence, for I thought the world would truly be better off without me; I believed I would be better off dead.
But I woke up. - I woke up before my liver failed, and I woke up because, perhaps, there was the slightest glimmer of light in me that still wantedto be alive. After deliriously purging whatever was left in my system, and being rushed to the E.R., I spent the next few weeks in a psychiatric ward. To be honest, it was like purgatory, it was the worst, but, most of all, it was necessary. Upon returning to an all encompassing sea of rumors and gossip, I was still not sure if I would live. The following month, I sunk a sharp, foreign object once again.
Then, I started seeing my friends more often. I started to paint and draw and sing and dance and do whatever I could to never return to purgatory, to simply feel alive. For a while, it was difficult trying to keep my head above water. There were days where I would still ball my eyes out. With time, those days diminished, and I began to come to terms with myself. I came to the conclusion that I am not lost, and I never have to or will be lost as long as I look to the only leader I will ever need, the only leader I can ever fully trust: myself. The more I led myself, the sharper my direction became, and the brighter my future shined. Two days ago, I graduated high school, and I will be starting college in the fall. Soon, my dependence will solely rely on myself, and I am not only okay with that, but I am excited. The ancient rivers on my wrists are memories written by actions that I am not proud of, but I will still notice them from time to time, remember how far I have come, and know why there will never be more scars to join. The water that ran through these valleys is long gone, the pain and anger I directed at myself has been resolved, the knots untied, and I smile for today.
Why today? Because today it has been over a year since the last time I have self harmed, and tomorrow will be another day even farther. If you are ever feeling like things won’t get better, please talk to a friend, a teacher, a parent, a friend’s parent, ANYONE. Surrounding yourself with the right people and seeking help is the first step. You are not alone, and there is love in this world for you because you make the world beautiful in a way that no one else ever can. Your demons can be conquered, because if you are reading this, you are strong enough to be alive, and I’m proud of you.